Two as One Princesses
CHAPTER 50: POTIONS, MONSTER STAMPEDE, AND DRYING
While we spent half a day on the way to the forest, it only took us about three hours to return to the capital.
As I used the Song Princess this time, it probably just felt like a light jog for Ciel, but it’s really amazing how she can run for three hours straight.
During my lifetime, how long could I run again? I’m at least confident that I won’t last even a minute when running in full sprint.
And while I did say three hours, this is really just my rough estimation based on the sun’s movement, so there’s a large margin of error here.
I’m not sure if the guild is crowded right now since we came at an awkward time, but it was luckily still empty, so we brought the herbs to the reception counter.
Just in case, we decided to keep several herbs, other than the four-leaf clover, for ourselves.
The receptionist was the same as the one from yesterday and it looked like she wanted to say something, but after seeing the large bundle of herbs, she was startled and quickly began dealing with them.
Incidentally, we also tried asking her about methods of preserving plants for long periods of time and as expected, drying seems to be the best way.
She said that herbs would last about one to two years that way.
However, dried herbs are never accepted in requests unless the requestor allows it.
Since it’s difficult to trace when herbs are dried, it could cause inventory problems and such.
As soon as the validation was finished, we left the Hunter Guild.
We don’t want any weird people going on at us after all.
And after that, I asked Ciel if I could borrow her body for the whole day.
『Ain wanting to borrow my body, that’s pretty unusual.』
Ciel’s pleasantly delighted voice echoes in my head.
『There’s something I’m personally curious about, but it’s a bit difficult to explain.』
『It’s related to the potions, right?』
But I myself don’t know how to start looking into it, so I was thinking of asking other people while making my judgment.』
『So having me in between will make this take a lot of time, right?』
Me taking control of the body means that I’m taking away Ciel’s time.
Ideally, Ciel should be the one to live her own life and I should be only helping her live comfortably.
But Ciel only asks me 『Why are you apologising?』 like it’s no big deal.
12 years old is about the age of elementary students in my former life and individuals at this age are also still considered to be children even here.
While this might be based on my old world sentimentalities, now that I reflect on them, every day at around this age was extremely valuable.
I know that having Ciel understand this value is difficult, so I can only reply to her with a vague smile.
As we continued on, we arrived at the tool shop from before, so I opened the door and entered inside.
Their product line-up hasn’t changed during these few days, so I immediately headed to the second floor.
Having another close look around the second floor, I found potions at the place where the bandages and salves are sold.
Rather, I guess it might be better to describe it as a potion area with bandages and salve sold as well.
What they have for sale are basic and intermediate grade potions.
I remember that the salves are for lower-ranked hunters, so I’m sure that even the basic-grade potions work in great effect.
As proof, the basic-grade potions are still slightly more expensive than the high-grade salves.
As for the intermediate-grade potions, they’re even more expensive than that.
Even if they do have high-grade potions, it’s probably so expensive that they wouldn’t display it along with these.
『This is a problem.』
『Since I expected potions to be expensive here at the capital, I thought of looking at the actual prices as a basis for my judgment but…』
『Ain doesn’t know how much potions cost in other towns, right?』
『Right…… Exactly that.』
This really kills my enthusiasm, it makes me feel empty inside.
Ever since we left the mansion, we haven’t experienced any major injuries, so knowing the prices of potions never even went through my mind.
And even if we did get severe injuries, we probably wouldn’t have used potions still.
Now it took its toll, might just be an overreaction, but it seems like I have no choice but to take a shot in the dark.
I looked for a different shop assistant than the one from before and 「Can I ask something?」 called out to her.
Without any reluctance in her tone, she says 「What it is?」 with a smile on her face.
「Are the potions sold here made in the royal capital?」
It is produced by an alchemist living in the capital.
Is there a problem concerning that?」
「Not exactly, it just seemed like the potions here cost more than the ones I saw in other towns.
However, it looks like it’s just my imagination.
I’m sorry about that.」
「You might not be wrong.
I believe that the potions you’ve seen are those of towns with herbs available in their near vicinity.
In the past, there seem to have been a place nearby where the materials for intermediate-grade potions could be harvested from, but as there have been no harvests lately, the ingredients are now being procured from other towns.」
「So it got expensive since it costs money to get it from other places, huh.
Do you know when the price started going up?」
「I believe it was about two to three years ago, but I don’t know much about the exact details.」
「Thank you very much.
I’m… going to look around for a bit more.」
I say my thanks before parting with the shop assistant.
It looks like I’ve ended up noticing something absolutely troublesome.
If only I didn’t notice it, I could’ve gone on without any care in the world.
Though, just because I noticed this doesn’t mean that I plan on poking my head into it.
After all, if we started something here in the royal capital, it’ll definitely be even more troublesome.
After buying one potion of each grade, I decided to leave the shop.
Our next destination is the library.
We barely have any time left, but this should be enough time to find out the things I want to know.
I’ve already asked for its location back at the shop, so it should be alright.
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『So you bought potions, Ain.』
『Not buying anything after going to the same shop multiple times seemed, really impolite after all』
『That’s pretty complicated.』
『I think so too.
Still, there’s no downside on having potions on stock.』
『I’ve heard it earlier, but we’re going to the library next, right?』
『I’m thinking of doing a quick investigation before we go back to the inn.』
Now, about the library, it’s located quite near the noble’s district.
In other words, it’s in a considerably safe place where rich people go to.
Would it be difficult for people without much money to read books then? Thinking of it that way, we might have been lucky to have read books for five years at the mansion.
As for how the library works, we’ll be asked to pay a deposit of one gold coin and a usage fee of one large silver at entry.
The gold coin would then be returned when we leave.
The books can only be read within the library.
To borrow books, it will be necessary to have a special registration and with us having an ambiguous background, we definitely won’t be able to register.
As I entered the library, seeing the bookshelves full of books reminded me of our days at the mansion.
Anyways, I caught the librarian and asked for a book about monster stampedes.
After a few minutes, the librarian gave us a book about the past stampedes that hit the royal capital and a research paper about stampedes.
Also, a historical record of some sort.
Illuminated by the setting sun, I gracefully read by the window side.
It’s almost like a scene from a manga or an anime, but there’s no one here I can share this sentiment with.
It’s quite a shame, especially since someone as beautiful as Ciel is in the spotlight.
I’m the one on the inside though.
Collecting my thoughts, I look over the documents.
I ignored the more detailed information about things 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.』
『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.』
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?」
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.
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.
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.
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