I roughly know, skimmed through some interesting things like the after-effects of a stampede on the ecosystem and just burned all the information I need into my head.
The years stampedes occurred, the state of affairs during those periods, and lastly, the date of when the royal capital’s last stampede happened.

I somehow managed to read through all of it before the sun completely set, which I assume is because of how gifted Ciel’s body is.
After leaving the library, I switched with Ciel and she began walking back to the inn.

「What did you figure out today?」

As we got back to our room, that was the first thing Ciel asked me about.
Since I’ve kept quiet about it so far, guess it’s only natural for her to get curious about it.
Rather, she might have actually held back on asking all this time.

『I think you already saw it earlier, but the last time a stampede hit the royal capital was fifty years ago.
Before that happened, stampedes of varied scales, both big and small, occurred in an interval of once every ten odd years.』
「Right.」

『Whenever a large-scale stampede happened, it seems that there were worsening diplomatic issues with the neighbouring countries, diseases spreading all over the capital, or negligence of monster cullings happening about five years before said stampedes occurred.』
「So in other words, Ain suspects that a stampede is going to happen here soon?」

As Ciel immediately figured out the meaning of my words, 『Yes.』 I gave her my affirmation.

『It’s only a possibility, but I’m expecting one to happen within about, maybe a few years from now.
After all, the potion mark-up happened two to three years ago.』
「So Ain, what are you planning to do about it?」
『Nothing at all.
I would hate it if we stood out here at the royal capital after all, and if this does happen, its scale would be incomparable to the one back at Sannois.
More importantly, we probably won’t be here when the stampede actually happens.
Though, if you want to do something about it Ciel, then I’ll lend a hand.』
「Then in that case, why did you look this up, Ain?」

Rather than her criticising me for not wanting to do anything, Ciel only asked out of pure interest.

『It’s because if by any chance this would occur tomorrow, we would have to make our preparations immediately right now.
Besides, it would be awful if we head to the north, go to the sea, and then accidentally bump into the stampede on the way back.』
「I see.
Thank you Ain.」
『I was just a bit bothered by it, that’s all.』

While we might just have barely enough time, we should be able to reach B-rank before the stampede occurs.
After that, what happens to this country is none of my concern.
Rather, this is the royal capital, so there should be a lot of people here who are stronger than Ciel.
Anyway, we should head southeast after seeing the ocean and make sure we can cross the kingdom borders as soon as we get to B-rank.

「By the way Ain, can I ask something?」
『What is it?』
「How will we dry the plants?」
『Oh right.
Pressing them should do well enough, but how about we do it with sorcery instead?』
「With sorcery? How do we do that?」
『About that, I already have something in mind, so can I test it for a bit?』
「Sure, I’m counting on you Ain.」

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I switched with Ciel and took one of the three-leaved clover-ish things we kept in reserve to test my idea.
The spell I’ll be using is 「Sharol Calesfi Ougua」, a chant that means something like heat up and evaporate just the moisture to dry this thing.
It’ll probably end up horribly if used on people, but it won’t have any significant effect with me using it.

Besides, even if Ciel uses this on a person, it would likely fail.
This is because casting sorcery inside a living creature’s body is unbelievably difficult.

If sorcery was that easy to cast inside someone’s body, just sending small embers into an enemy would cause severe damage and if it was wind sorcery, they’d have their organs be in shreds.
And using water, one could probably drown their enemy with ease.

Because of this fact, this spell can only be used on inanimate objects.
In the case of plants, they’re considered non-living once harvested and in the case of monsters and animals, parts separated from the body and carcasses will eventually lose their resistance to the spell and will be affected by it.
Though in the first place, even if it is possible to use this on living creatures, it’s already pretty difficult to use sorcery in a place that isn’t visible.

「Sharol Calesfi Ougua」

I immediately tried it on the three-leaf clover, but considering how simple it seems, it’s rather tricky.
It needs precise magic power control and if it’s a moment too late, it might even get burnt.
Anyhow, the first one somehow turned out to be moderately good in quality.

「Well, this definitely isn’t something you’d do with chant sorcery.」
『Is it difficult even for you Ain?』
「I think that it’ll get easier the more I try, but if you want to do it Ciel, it’ll be better if you use a magic circle so you can make more precise adjustments.
I can imagine it making for a good practice, so it might be good to try it when you have some free time.」
『Looking at Ain doing it, it really seems simple though.』
「I am pretty confident with my ability to control magic power after all.」

After all, it’s practically all I’ve done in the past.
The way I’m using the barrier and detection around the clock hasn’t really changed much since then.

『Then I suppose I’ll try drying some of them after dinner.
Could you do the four-leaved one Ain?』
「Sure, no problem.」

After this exchange, I practiced about two to three more times before drying the four-leaf clover.
I was able to dehydrate it while keeping its vibrant green hue, so I guess I can consider it a success.
Obviously, it doesn’t have even a single char.

Later on, Ciel tried drying the remaining three plants we have after finishing dinner, but every single one of them got completely scorched.

 

Heya~! More alone time with our two princesses, and more foreshadowing creeping sneakily in the background! Actually, not sneakily anymore! GJ, Ain!

First of all, Ciel being happy that Ain asked for something is pure.
Just, pure.
Then Ain big braining the situation while forgetting the fact that she doesn’t have enough information to actually do it is hilarious.
“Yes, i have the perfect plan, I’ll compare the prices from here and…… Oh.” But brilliant job on bluffing it either way.
This absolutely reminds me of how I’d go to the kitchen of restaurants with food I like and ask the recipes when I was still young.
Now that I look back on it, that was definitely bad for the restaurant, but some still gave me recipes, lol.
I guess it’s hard to shoo a child praising good food, lol.

So yeah, there seems to be some issue with the royal capital somewhere in the dark.
Increased monster sightings, overgrown herbs, priced up potions, and the unnatural appearance of forest wolves, usually thriving in forest biomes, in plains.
Hmmm… And Ain noticed this all because of our beloved merchant couple.
Lol.
Mostly the wolf part, but I digress.

But yeah, that’s a pretty big issue in of itself, the potion thing.
It’s basically a hunter’s lifeline amd maybe even an alchemist’s monopoly.
There might be something a brewin’ in the background for *intermediate-grade potion materials* to be ignored.
In context, most low-ranked herb quests are only for herbs to be used for making salves or for hands on lecture.
*This* is intermediate level potions.
And it’s been there for a while.
That’s pretty big if you ask me.
While hunters may have no knowledge or care about mere herbs once they leave the odd jobs and herb collection rank, the Guild (aka the managment) should have taken notice of this.
And in my opinion, that’s exactly why the previous receptionist tried to stop our princesses from leaving and why escort requests are “coincidentally” reserved, it’s because a certain adorable hunter willingly does herb collection.

Anyways, this is just my opinion, wasting brainpower for these sorts of things is fun.
Ehe.

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