391: Peaceful Days of Busy Calm

“Looks like we’ve somehow managed to get everything ready.”

“Yeah, I’m all set.”

It was the 16th of June. Jin and Elsa had finished preparing for the Technology Expo.

The plan for Elsa to return home to the Shouro Empire was well in place too.

“Elsa, you have everything memorized?”

“Yeah, I’ve got this,” Elsa nodded with confidence.

“Okay, we just have to wait for the Expo to start then.”

Jin stretched out. Horai Island’s sky was clear and blue.

“Well, I guess I’ll check in on how Laojun is handling being left in charge of the island.” Muttering this to himself, Jin called Laozi, the mobile terminal for Laojun.

“Yes, my Lord, you called me?”

“Yeah, I’ve been so busy with things I left you all on your own over there. I thought I’d check in. How are things on the island?”

Since Laozi was the terminal of Laojun, he knew everything Laojun did.

“Yes, my Lord. You are aware of the agricultural developments on the island? ”

Jin nodded. He had heard rice paddies were being built and rice being planted for the summer season.

“Similarly, our seaweed cultivation is on track. There’s been just a minor problem with regards to the konbu collection.”

“So the other seaweed is fine, but something’s wrong with the konbu?”

“Well, the thing is……” It was unusual for Laozi to hesitate when Jin asked a question. “… It seems the seaweed growing might not actually be konbu. ”

“Huh?”

According to Laozi, the seaweed was similar but different from konbu. Dashi could still be made with it and it could be processed into something similar to konbu tororo. Other than that, though, the seaweed was different from konbu, even turning red when dried out.

“Yeah, dried konbu is usually a greenish black … Like Rishiri konbu or Hidaka konbu … Oh!”

Jin realized konbu could only be found in cold northern seas like those surrounding Hokkaido. Of course, it would be impossible to find it in warm waters like those surrounding Horai Island.

“Ah … I completely forgot …”

The seaweed seemed to be different despite looking similar. That’s why it came out differently when processed.

“Well, continue to find out what recipes you can use it for.”

Jin’s disappointment was obvious.

A little while after this, Laojun ordered Air Force and Underwater Golem units to search for konbu in the northern seas, where they found quality konbu Jin would be happy with.

“Was there anything else?”

Returning to his senses, Jin asked again.

“Yes, remember how baking soda was being extracted from water in Kaina Village.”

“Yeah, what of it?”

Not long ago, Jin noticed that part of the water in Kaina Village contained a little sodium bicarbonate eg. baking soda.

He had realized some of the water underground contained baking soda because of the hot springs in the village.

He had wanted to look into where the baking soda came from.

“Water with high concentration of baking soda was found flowing out of a mountain glacier. It was about 10 grams to 1 liter of water, which is quite a high concentration. We are currently building a baking soda extraction plant at the glacier.”

“Oh, that’s great news.”

A leavening agent, baking soda breaks apart when heated, producing carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide then causes bread and cake dough to rise. uWith baking soda, Jin could make pancakes that were a little plumper. Jin was excited to use some when he returned.

“Also, a poultry farm was built to gather eggs. “

“Oh, I see!”

Jin could use eggs in cooking too, so he was happy about this as well.

“The birds housed originally inhabited Horai Island and are similar to wild fowls. If kept penned, they lay one egg every three days.”

“Sounds great.. And how about storage? ”

“Yes, semi-permanent preservation of the eggs is possible if you store them in an aether stocker. This isn’t possible with eggs purchased elsewhere it seems.”

It was likely easier to preserve the eggs because they were from the island and thus high in aether.

“Hmmm, I want to know more about aether … I’ll talk to Saki about it next time I see her. ”

Elements not from the earth of this universe were called aether.

However, little was known about aether. No detailed record or study on it had been preserved from the previous generation.

After talking to Laozi, Jin returned to Kaina Village. This time, he went to Nido Castle. It was fairly lively.

Leaving the shelter, he stepped into Nido Castle and a bittersweet smell assailed him.

“Kyaa!”

He suddenly heard a scream.

“What was that?”

“That was Belle.”

Hearing the scream also, Reiko determined it belonged to Belle. Jin wondered what had happened.

“Hey, what’s wrong?”

They had heard the voice from the kitchen.  As soon as Jin entered there, he saw Belle’s stressed face. Beside her stood Mine.

“Jin, welcome home.”

Compared to Mine’s calm greeting of Jin, Belle was a wreck.

“What’s wrong, Belle?”

When Jin asked again, Belle spoke up with an apologetic tone.

“The thing is, the marmalade you made the other day looked delicious, so I thought I’d try making some, and made it with citran but…”

Hanging her head in shame, Belle looked at Jin with upturned eyes. She was like a puppy being scolded.

“… She burnt it, Jin.”

Mine finished the explanation for Belle.

On closer observation, a large aluminum pot sat on the stove, and an acrid burnt smell intermingled with the sweet scent.

Jin understood the situation. She had been careless and burned the pot. Since the pot wasn’t mixed well enough after adding sugar, it burnt.

“It’s okay. We’ll empty the contents into another pot, and I’ll clean the scorched pot.”

Jin comforted the teary-eyed Belle. He instructed Reiko to transfer the marmalade into another pot.

“Hmm, this is …”

Jin saw the scorched bottom of the pot and noticed something. The burnt marmalade was stuck on in the shape of the stove burner. This was due to the poor thermal conductivity of the pot’s material.

Jin could tell because he had boiled countless stews in stainless steel pots in the past. If the aluminum pot had better heat conduction, it wouldn’t have burned this easily.

“I see, so aluminum has poor thermal conductivity.”

Even though it had been boiling, the top edge of the pot was cool enough to touch. This showed Jin that aluminum conducted heat poorly.

“It’s too bad I went to the trouble of making it …”

It was a shame that it wasn’t an easy pot to use. Jin wondered if he could modify it somehow.

“I just need to improve its heat conduction … Yeah, I just need to bond it with something.”

He needed to make a composite or laminate material.

“Hmmm, diamonds have good thermal conductivity …”

Jin remembered watching a TV commercial for a diamond-coated frying pan once.

“Well, why not just coat the aluminum with diamond?”

Horai Island had plenty of diamonds stockpiled.

Diamonds are a product of heat and pressure, and quite a lot of them were formed on Horai Island for this reason.  However, Jin hadn’t tried using them much. Perhaps this was because they were so hard, they could easily scratch other things? Or maybe he felt like he would be wasting them because of how expensive they were back in his home world?

“Yeah, you can’t make progress if you always listen to your common sense.” Telling himself this, Jin asked Reiko to bring about 500 grams of diamonds.

“Yes, Father. Leave it to me. ”

Answering as such, Reiko ran off like the wind. Leaving Nido Castle with almost no sound, she went to Horai Island via the shelter, and returned soon after receiving the diamond Laozi had prepared. She needed about 3 minutes to do all of this.

“Thank you, Reiko,” Jin said stroking Reiko’s head. Reiko was overjoyed at having her head pat.

“Okay, I’m going to use this to make a pot.… ‘Forming’……”

After several moments, the diamond wrapped aluminum pot was completed. It was a silver-gray pot. It was hard to say how much it would have been worth back in Japan.

Jin called Belle. She had been boiling down the remaining citran marmalade, but finished and put out the fire just as Jin called, so she came quickly.

“Yes, Jin.”

“Use this pot next time.”

Jin handed the pot he just made.

“Um, is there something different about it?”

Belle, who was working hard to keep the marmalade from burning, did not realize what Jin had been doing. Mine was the same.

“Yeah, I modified it to make it less sticky.”

“Wow, really? Thank you!”

Belle, who wasn’t interested in what Jin had done scientifically, accepted the pot without question. Jin had improved it and that was enough for her.

“I will do my best to make a delicious dish! ”

Saying this, Belle smiled. Jin smiled back.

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