Volume 5 Chapter 3.1
「You haven’t pulverized it enough.」
「Still no good, huh……」
The fox-eared boy dejectedly dropped his shoulders when Mio, with an expressionless face and detached voice ordered him to redo the task.
The boy’s name was Geno Cothel, age sixteen, the new recruit that Layotte had brough over. He was slightly shorter than Haruna, a boy who was a bit on the short side for this world and a youth who had yet to even be an apprentice a week since coming here.
「You need to keep crushing it until it loses its base form. Otherwise it won’t have any effect.」
「No, but um, it already doesn’t look very much like its former shape……」
「If it looks that way to you, your eyes suck. Right here and over here there are still stems, and these fragments over here aren’t crushed at all.」
「Ah, you’re right……」
Taking Mio’s fierce pointers to heart, the fox boy’s ears fell powerlessly. Had he paid proper attention, he would have easily found these mistakes, so there was no room for argument.
「If it’s as an unclassified potion, there’s no issue there. But are you really satisfied with an unclassified potion, Geno？」
「……There’s, no way I would be.」
「In that case, it might be tough right now, but you need to just focus on crushing the herbs down till you get it right. Sensei, myself included, and Fum and everyone else all got past this.」
Geno dropped his shoulders, and Mio motivated him with rough words. Crushing leaves was part of the basics of potion making and you must never neglect it, lest you not improve. What you were making would influence how much you needed to crush, so you needed to do it over and over again until your body memorized the motions.
「For today, once you’ve crushed enough leaves to fill this container, you’ll measure the curry powder. Measuring is also essential to potion making, so first you need to adjust to it.」
Shoulders drooped, Geno got back to work. As she watched him, Mio was reminded of the time when Fum and the others had barely arrived at the workshop, feeling somewhat nostalgic. It had already been half a year since then, but you could also say it had only been half a year.
And in that interval of less than a year, Fum, Teres, and Nora had become capable of securely making Class 7 potions to a degree, with Lime even making an unclassified potion despite not really being taught how to. Mio tried not to think about that part too much.
「Ah, Mio-san, can I ask you something？」
「What is it？」
As she indulged herself in these deep sentiments, Fum herself called out to Mio.
「There are several unfinished-looking materials over here, but do you think we could put them all together to make a potion of some sort？」
「Show me the list…Mm, if we make full use of alchemy, we can make a Class 7 stamina potion. Want to try？」
「I do. Mio-san, a hint if you will.」
Already having finished all of today’s quotas, Fum was doing independent research, going into a new challenge alongside Teres with Mio as the director. They planned to teach the method to Nora in the afternoon as well.
「……It’s a little difficult, but I think it’s still possible.」
「Yeah. This is actually possible for us too, isn’t it?」
Teres and Fum felt a response after two wins and one loss in their tag team challenge. As he looked at the two of them, Geno was forced to realize that he did not have anyone there to work alongside him.
「Okay Your Highnesses, now I’d like you to quickly bring the next person over here.」
「Mio-san, what’s come over you？」
「As I was looking at the two of you, I thought that Geno might be having trouble piling up goods by himself.」
Hearing Mio’s concerns, Teres understood more than well as she recalled her and the others’ first time here. They had their own gripe sessions together, learned new things together, and rejoiced over those things together, which was extremely essential when it came to motivation.
And it didn’t just have to be friends, it could also be as rivals. As long as you have someone who you think “I will never lose to them” then you can get through a bit more without breaking.
「Well, but Goivejon-san and Foeldan-san are following up like they should, and he looks like a boy who really doesn’t want to lose, so I was thinking he’d be fine as is.」
「And when you were gone, he asked us plenty of questions, so even if he’s down in the dumps right now, Geno seems to have some real determination, so I don’t think he’ll fold by himself.」
「If you say so.」
Teres and Fum asserted fairly confidently without much thought. Hearing this, although she expressed concern, Mio decided not to say anything further.
After this, the youngest twins from a poor noble family in Farlane (one male one female) and a woman who transferred her registry over from Igreos Temple would be added two weeks later, but by that time Geno would be in charge of mixing unclassified potions and would feel slightly out of place.
There was a heated argument in the Rufeus Academy cafeteria.
「What would an outsider like yourself understand！？」
「Uhh, first off, something being tasty or not tasty has nothing to do with if we’re outsiders or not. Second of all, the anonymous survey of one thousand participants regarding the cafeteria had 15 votes for “tasty” and “super tasty”, while “can’t say” and “no comment” got 70 votes, but that’s it for anything remotely positive, you realize? Every other response was either “bad” or “extremely bad” , so at this point wouldn’t you say that’s a good enough reason to reform this cafeteria？」
The head chef spat out a threat, and Haruna responded in an exasperated tone, using the data she had as backup. The conversation had started with formalities, but since nothing was progressing that way, their tones had become more plain midway.
「Also, there were also a lot of voices saying that the food is expensive, so I’ll have you know that I made sure to check the buying price before coming here.」
「And so what if you did！？」
「If this is the buying price, then you can make plenty of profit just by doubling the amount per food, right? I mean, look at the items on an individual basis. They’re taking double the market price, so you should at last be able to make larger serving amounts, right？」
「I don’t need to hear stupid complaints from someone who doesn’t know the first thing about the struggles we face in the kitchen！」
「Struggles you face in the kitchen, eh……」
True, Haruna didn’t have experience managing this scale of a kitchen. However, she had experienced serving several hundreds of people, and she also knew plenty of shops of this size that offered tastier, cheaper food.
There were in fact shops who had that sort of business practice even while paying rent and all that. Haruna truly didn’t understand why despite receiving a location from the academy as well as support that this place couldn’t do the same as those other locations.