The use of the legendary ash greatly reduced the fuel consumption needed for the glass production. It had a direct relation to the massive profits, and by using such wealth, they were able to reach a mutual conciliation with the town. However, the method was far from a miracle, smelly and musky.
Lead oxide is also known as mirdasang, something that would always occur when smelting metals containing lead. It was also a common occurrence in cupellation of gold and silver, a familiar ash to blacksmiths and jewelers. Thus, the legend had blatantly stated it was no miracle ash. The Ancients had no intention to hide. They never expected to be so misunderstood.
In any case, it was a really common item, so many that it was rotting away in a blacksmith’s shop. The glassmakers proposed to the blacksmiths, indicating their willing to purchase the ash at high prices, so it was easy to pull the blacksmiths along. The saved fuel could then be offered for use in the town.
It was said the priest was trying to stoke the flames again, hoping to redirect their focus, but the blacksmith guild, the biggest in town, had succumbed, so he too remained powerless.
Thus, the matter of expelling the glassmakers became nothing.
The main intermediaries between the town and the glassmakers were the spies. The latter did so, with the objective to infiltrate deep into the town for intel.
Kusla had no interest in such things, and he spent an entire day browsing through the scrolls he borrowed from the glassmakers’ boss. It depicted the legend of an angel.
If it was not a metaphor of a forest fire, there were still two startling matters that remained unsolved.
An envoy descended from the heavens, summoning the sun.
Each legend seemed so utterly ridiculous, but there was a unique stone on the table Kusla rested his feet on, one given by the boss
Kusla obtained this rock at the forest workplace. Weyland and Irine learned that lead oxide could decrease the fuel consumption by half, and by changing the temperature of the ash, the texture of the glass would change. Their curiosity was perked, so they joined the glassmakers, toiling all night long.
Kusla helped a little, hoping to learn some useful knowledge, but he was slowly unable to catch up to their fanatical passion, so he gave up early and went into the hut to rest. It was on this night that he obtained the stone..
Fenesis had fallen asleep early, wincing and groaning in agony. Kusla sat next to her, sighing.
There were many people in this messy hut, and they did not fall asleep simply because they wanted to.
It’s like a festival, so he thought.
Suddenly, the boss appeared, and silently handed over this strange looking stone.
Kusla asked, and the boss looked down at him gaudily, answering tersely,
“My ancestor picked it, saying it’s a fragment of the sun. It was said it was retrieved secretly when the miracle happened.”
Kusla gasped. If that was really the case, he was holding a piece of the legend.
“The ones who know most on thi world are the merchants who trade to faraway places. I asked them, and they said they discovered it in hot areas, but that’s all they know. I don’t know what the purpose is. However, by throwing it into the fire, the colors of the flames will become really strange. This isn’t normal.”
The stone resembled more like a salt rock and a stone itself, a crystal of something.
Kusla had a detailed look, and put it into his pocket.
“I’ll notify you if we find out what it is.”
The boss coldly responded.
“We’re not going to daydream.”
He was sounding like a practitioner, but Kusla had to ask,
“Then what about the young fellows who like to daydream?”
Kusla’s presence at this place was due him getting tangled in the red thread linking Helena and Rihito.
“As long as it’s not a daydream, anything goes.”
“If we can reconcile with the town…they can do as they please. We’ll be off to a different land for a few years, but we’ll return. If the bond breaks just like this, they aren’t suited to be together. Besides, our wives went through long days of separations.”
Helena remained in Yazon, and in a few years, they would meet again. If it was known that he would return, this long distance love might not be impossible.
Others were calling for the boss, who then hurried over quickly.
However, the boss stopped, and slowly turned around.
“Thank you for the miracle.”
Kusla shrugged, and the boss said nothing more as he left.
Two others witnessed this scene, side by side.
Naturally, they were Helena and Rihito.
They looked from the boss to Kusla, fidgeting. Kusla would feel annoyed to receive their thanks, so he waved his hand, gesturing for them not to follow him
Both of them bowed, while still holding hands.
Goodness gracious. All Kusla could only do was sigh.
And after that, they learned the gist of glassmaking, and hurried back to the town. However, they were not in a hurry to leave, for they had to gather information on the next location, along with the ongoing negotiations. Thus, they took the opportunity to relax
From time to time, Kusla looked out at the town of Yazon through the window, and found the traffic increasingly bustling. One would have a sense, that the Knights were regaining their lands successfully.
“Ah, you are putting your feet on the table again. Please put them down. I bought lunch.”
Fenesis, who went out shopping, returned with loaves and meat in hand.
Kusla put his feet down, and Fenesis’ eyes were attracted by something.
“What is that little bottle?”
“Hm? Ah! That fool Weyland brought it.”
“It is a pretty glass vial…does it contain some oils?”
“It’s an aphrodisiac.”
Fenesis, who had wanted to pick the vial up, immediately stopped.
“I really have no idea what the imbecile is trying to do. But since I heard mandrakes are in short supply, the effects should be rather weak…seems like he tested it.”
Fenesis’s face froze.
“It’s in poor taste, but pretty potent.”
Fenesis backtracked and maintained some distance, as though approaching it would bring about calamity.
“Ah, just to say this first. Be careful when using it.”
“Eh? I-I will not be using it!”
“Don’t they say that people say differently when guilty?”
Kusla leered, and Fenesis shivered, as though the demon was approaching her.
“Enough with the jokes. This medicine can be used as a painkiller. It’s very potent.”
“Like when you’re heavily injured. You need to ensure the injured is free from pain, so that he can die peacefully, like a dream. Then, there’s fractures and tooth removals. Lots of times, it’s not fatal, but the feeling is that death is better than living with pain. In a certain sense, being tortured in a love that won’t be fulfilled is about the same thing.”
Kusla tapped at the vial with his finger, and it tilted slightly. It was an ointment synthesized from dangerous plants like Hyoscyamine, Belladonna, along with some herbs and pork fat.
“One day, I might need to use it.”
“…I am…not thinking about this possibility.”
“If you don’t think of it, it won’t happen. If that happens, that’ll be great.”
Saying that, he uncorked the vial to have a look.
“I’m not using it. Also, it’s ointment. It can’t be eaten.”
Fenesis looked surprised. She assumed it was to be drunk.
“Being presumptuous is dangerous. You drink it, and the effects will kill you. So it’s applied as an ointment.”
While the existence of the aphrodisiac left her terrified, she was still brimming with curiosity.
After hearing such a realistic explanation, she showed some interest.
“Those that help to cool the body temperature, agitates a person, or calms a person down are all to be consumed. This is to be applied though. Don’t get this mistaken.”
“I-I know that.”
Fenesis answered, tilting her pretty face as she observed her palms and other places.
Would one fall for another by applying on the skin? It might be hard to imagine. It seemed that to change one’s heart, one would have to reach the inside state of the body.
“I know what you’re thinking, but the places to apply are a little different.”
“Well, use of this ointment is somewhat between drinking and applying. Doesn’t the human body have such places?”
“The parts of the body that will be exposed. Like eyes, nostrils, mouth.”
Kusla counted as he folded his fingers, and Fenesis was startled to hear the answer,
“The rectum, and the crotch——”
“A-a-a-erm! Wh-wh-what are you saying?”
“The medicine. Logically, an aphrodisiac should be treated similarly as wine. The difference is just whether the effects are good or not. However, the biggest issue is the usage.”
Kusla smiled, staring at Fenesis.
“Do you know why when we mention the strange aphrodisiac, we associate it with witches?”
She might have known Kusla would follow up with some malicious teasing.
But due to her curiosity, she did not run away. Aphrodisiac, witches; these two things were often lumped together.
And there was a reason for that? Was it not a myth since ancient times?
Kusla explained to her,
“While this medicine’s meant to stop pain, it’s more like a hallucination. It’s said to get the user excited, like flying in the air.”
“…In…the air? Bu-but…”
“So what’s the tool witches are always using?”
“Right. Don’t you find it weird? Why can they fly with brooms? Birds don’t need to step over brooms.”
Fenesis was stunned. The naïve brat was trudging closer and closer to the trap.
So Kusla rested his head on his hands, elbows on the table as he smiled gently,
“I’ll be honest then. It’s to be applied, inside the body. It gives a hallucination, it stops pain, and gives a feeling of flight. People say it’s invented by witches, and witches always fly while riding on brooms. Now you understand how the medicine works?”
The simple-minded, direct Fenesis started thinking of what she should do, as though she was working on alchemy.
She picked up an imaginary broom, and while trying to cross over, she stopped.
Kusla withstood the urge to snicker.
Where would she apply it at? How? Surely she tried to imagine. Most likely, she understood the reason why witches fly on brooms.
Fenesis’ face reddened increasingly, and one would have a feeling, she would have fainted just like that.
“You still can’t use it, child.”
Kusla chuckled, and Fenesis seemed to have gotten the hint.
She lifted her head, covering her mouth as though suppressing her shrieks, her eyes teary.
Her face, and even her hands were completely red.
Kusla bared his teeth, laughing.
“Hahaha. Seems like you can’t become a witch.”
He chortled, as though it had been years since he did so.
Fenesis burst into tears as she was overly embarrassed, her body quivering. Finally, something seemed to snap, and she opened her mouth to inhale so loudly.
“You really! Really! Really are deplorable!”
She lashed out at him with all her mind, and darted out of the room.
Despite that, Kusla remained seated on the chair, laughing a little while, looking relaxed as he glanced over at the glass vial.
“That Weyland…saying to use this to enjoy.”
Kusla scratched his head, sighing. He knew why Fenesis was outraged. Even he too was left uneasy seeing this bottle.
Also, he had many considerations on whether he should use the medicine on Helena, and one reason was the method to use it.
“…Now that is really…frivolous.”
Kusla muttered in a huff. If he had used this medicine on Fenesis, surely it would be a scene even alchemists would be left intimidated by.
Feeling peeved, he continued to think, but someone opened the door without knocking.
“Ahhh I’m hungry. Ul bought food for us…huh?”
It was Irine, but she was taken aback to find only Kusla there.
“I don’t know where she went.”
“…I see that you angered her again. You never learn.”
Seeing Irine dumbfounded, Kusla decided to vent his frustrations.
He stood up from the table, and laid his hand on Irine’s shoulder.
“It’s no wonder she’s angry. All because that bastard Weyland made such a bad joke.”
“Throw away the bottle on the table.”
“Listen. Don’t ever drink it. You’ll die. It’s for applying.”
“Some contact on the skin should be fine. Please, throw it into the furnace. Burn it all to ashes.”
Kusla mercilessly said these words, took the lunch Fenesis bought, and left the room. Irine remained rooted as she looked back and forth between Kusla and the bottle.
It was probably Weylands prank. Not a real aphrodisiac.
However, Irine would surely be left flustered before the bottle. Just imagining her reaction quelled the scorching feeling churning in the stomach by a little.
More importantly, Fenesis was most likely hiding in a corner of the garden, all shriveled up.
He slowly moved down the corridor, watching the blue sky beyond the ajar wooden window. He put his elbow there; there were many problems that could be be resolved simply with alchemy, and it seemed joy was not just limited to alchemy.
He lowered his sights, and as expected, there was a girl huddled up in a corner of the courtyard. Perhaps she had hoped to be discovered to be begin with.
People of this world are always hypnotized by such joyous things, so he leered sarcastically.
He did not however mock those who never accepted the legend of the angel wholeheartedly.
While Spring remained far, it was a warm, sunny day after a long while.