Study Magic in My Free Time - Chapter 9: Sun Charcoal
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Translator: Mr. Steak
An iron rose is good and all, but I wasn’t sure how to exactly make money off of it.
After all, it wasn’t something you could use in your daily life. It was strictly a luxury item.
There were too many unpredictable factors making me uncertain if I could actually feed myself with it long-term.
As I was pondering over what else I could try, the layer of ironsand caught my eye again.
A black layer of ironsand. Black.
“……White would be better”
That was something I’d known even in my old life.
It was a knowledge I had without even having to go back to the mansion to find a book in the archive.
Except, back then, I didn’t have the power to do it.
I decided to test it out first.
I made a Flame Cutter, and used it to cut down a tree about the thickness of my arm.
I summoned the earth spirit, and the mole appeared before me.
“Wrap this tree trunk in dirt, so that it’s completely airtight on all sides, except for a small hole at the very top.”
The gnome nodded, then wrapped the tree I was holding in dirt.
Normally, you’d use mud for this, because the moisture makes it airtight, but once it dries, then air can get through.
But a gnome can control the earth perfectly and make the dirt airtight, so mud was unnecessary.
“Just to be safe…… Sylph.”
I summoned the wind spirit.
“Can you sort out different types of air? Like, between air that burns…… and air that doesn’t burn?”
Within the air, there are parts that can burn, and parts that can’t.
I knew that there was a difference, but I didn’t know exactly what that difference was.
What I did know, was that there was air that was required in order to burn something, and air that wasn’t.
When I asked the sylph, it nodded in understanding.
“In that case, I’m about to start burning this, and I want you to make sure that none of the non-burning air gets inside.”
The sylph nodded deeply.
Thinking normally, that would have been an absurd request, but this was a spirit who controlled the wind.
Distinguishing parts of the air was pretty much its strong point.
Alright, time to begin……
All at once, I used my remaining spell slots to produce three fireballs.
Since I only needed to heat it up quickly, summoning a salamander would be less effective than three fireballs.
For the purpose of pure flame energy, solely for raising the temperature as much as possible, this was far better than summoning a salamander.
I sent the fireballs around the dirt, cooking it.
As I watched, smoke started spouting from the hole.
“Seal up the hole, Gnome.”
The gnome faithfully obeyed my command and closed the hole until no more smoke could escape.
I continued to heat the clump of dirt with my fireballs.
Normally this would be incredibly difficult, ensuring that no “non-burning air” could enter an airtight space as it was raised to extremely high temperatures.
I continued cooking it for ten minutes.
“That should do it. Gnome, as soon as I extinguish the flames, I want you to remove the dirt.”
As I’d instructed, almost the exact instant the flames went out, the dirt surrounding the tree came undone.
And what appeared before me was something thin, white, and cylindrical.
It had originally been a tree the thickness of my arm, but now it was about the thickness of a bone.
I picked it up and knocked it lightly with my middle knuckle.
A smooth, sort of metallic sound.
What I’d made was charcoal, but not just any charcoal. This was a special kind called white charcoal.
Normal charcoal was black in color.
It could be made with a certain level of airtightness, and a certain level of heat.
That was the kind which was much simpler to make, and which commoners would buy on a daily basis.
If you go about making that “black charcoal”, but use an extremely airtight environment, and at extreme levels of heat, it turns white and becomes the thing called white charcoal.
Compared to black charcoal, white charcoal burns at a much higher temperature, and most impressive of all, it produces almost no smoke and lasts a very long time.
Its distinguishing characteristic was the metallic sound it makes when you knock on it, as well as being much more firm than black charcoal.
As the method of production was much more difficult, white charcoal was also traded for a much higher price. But that’s not the only reason. Since it burns hotter and doesn’t produce smoke, the higher price is well worth the expense.
And I had been able to make my own.
“This might even be whiter and harder than Sun Charcoal.”
Sun Charcoal was the most popular brand of white charcoal manufacturers.
Naturally, the name came from how the color it makes when burning at high temperatures resembles the sun.
I burned some to see for myself.
When I did, it started to burn far hotter and brighter than Sun Charcoal, which I’d seen once before in my life.
“This…… has potential……”
I’d made some more white charcoal after that and brought a basketful to a charcoal guild in town.
The town where the Hamilton mansion was located, Seranoia, had lots of various craftsmen and guilds.
And there were also several charcoal guilds, of the sort I’d interacted with quite a lot in my former life as a commoner.
I’d brought my basket to one of those.
Upon seeing my wares, the guild master was instantly flabbergasted.
“This charcoal…… Did you buy this from some other province?”
I shook my head.
“How I make it is secret, but it involves magic.”
After I said that, I summoned a salamander and had it sit on my shoulder.
[apparently not burning me]
In this market, your product was only as good as your method of production, and the majority of craftsmen kept theirs closely guarded, so it was only natural that I’d keep mine a secret too.
“That’s a fire spirit! I, I see……”
The guild master seemed to understand how I could have used the salamander to make the charcoal.
He took one rod of the white charcoal in his hands and knocked on it with a tink.
“That’s a good sound…… This is, I dare say…… on the same level as Sun Charcoal……”
“So what’ll it be?”
“W, would you be willing to let me be the exclusive seller of this product? If you promise not to deliver any to my competition, I’ll make sure you’re compensated richly.”
The guild master was after a monopoly.
Judging from his reaction, I knew that this white charcoal produced through my own method would sell at a more than satisfying rate.
Translator and Editor Notes:
So, just like the last chapter, this one was mostly just a step by step guide on how to make a certain thing with magic. But actually, I found this one a lot more interesting than the last. Probably because this aesthetic of “chemistry but from the perspective of a fantasy world where chemistry doesn’t exist” is pretty fun. I also like the direction of making “everyday” stuff that people will actually use, rather than stuff that just looks expensive and fancy. Like, charcoal isn’t something you’d immediately expect to be profitable to make, even really good charcoal. That disconnect made this chapter a lot more interesting than the last.
I’m still not terribly invested in these money-making schemes though lol. I mean, we’re a noble, so why do we need to secure ways of making money? It’d make sense if “Liam” said something like “I’m preparing for when I return to my original body, so I’ll be able to provide for myself.” I mean, I sort of got the impression that might have been what he was talking about with the whole “I’ll be able to feed myself” stuff, but it’s weird that he never actually explicitly mentions the possibility of going back to a commoner life.
I do like the idea of a young child basically grifting the charcoal guilds lol. Also, this story is so rambling that it’s starting to be less boring and more funny. At first, I was annoyed at the lack of conflict, but now it’s like… where are you even trying to go, story? Is he going to become a sorcerer in the army? Or is he gonna be a famous charcoal dealer? Make up your mind!
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