Atelier Tanaka Volume 4 Chapter 1 part4
Territory Pioneering 1
[Sophia-chan’s point of view]
There is an event that just started at the academy recently called the Academic Conference.
This event consists of many presentations concerning new discoveries related to magic. The people doing these presentations are actually teachers rather than the students. The nobles that work within the school as teachers present their yearslong research at this conference.
I’ve heard stories that teachers that receive poor evaluations during the conference are fired from the academy. While the teachers may be the ones at ease during exams for the students, they’re the ones feeling desperate when it comes to this event.
It’s like their own exam.
The real question here is how a simple town girl working as a maid is allowed to attend such an important event. And I was allowed to enter the box seats reserved for nobles and other VIP guests.
The room was luxurious with only a few seats reserved for its privileged guests. There was a large opening at the front for those in attendance to view the presentations without being bothered by the other guests.
There was a member of the staff currently giving their presentation on stage.
Honestly, I can’t understand a single thing they’re saying.
Anyway, this situation is too much for me to comprehend.
This all started this morning. Fahren-sama arrived at the dormitory looking for Tanaka-san, but my master had not returned after leaving yesterday.
After I told him this, Fahren-sama looked at a loss as to what he should do, but he ended up telling me to accompany him. I didn’t have the courage to ask him why, so I was forced into this situation.
It’s the usual pattern.
I become a victim due to my association with Tanaka-san.
“A negative reaction formula…? Is that a joke? Something like that would have no effect on me. Hou? Is it meant to cause a chain reaction…? That might warm my scales but I don’t see that doing anything more. As expected of the simple-minded humans.”
The Dragon-san was sitting next to me. I can also see the Elf-san that came to the dorm before and beside me, opposite the Dragon-san, for some reason the Princess of this country is sitting.
Everyone except me is paying attention to the presentation.
My stomach hurts.
Ah, it hurts so bad.
Every time someone around me moved or cleared their throat, a new wave of pain would shoot through my stomach. I can feel moisture accumulating down there. Why do I feel a sense of impending doom?
“…hou? Using temperature difference, eh? Again, what should I expect from the insignificant humans? It would just be a waste of effort against something like me. Pitiful! Pathetic! Insignificant humans!”
There’s a pain in my butt too.
Ah, it hurts so much.
I’ve already run to the bathroom several times. My butt is actually sore from it. The facilities here are built for the nobility, so the toilet paper is soft and fluffy, but it still hurts after using it so many times.
“Fu~, it’s so pointless. But what can he expect to do with such limited magical power? He might even be weaker than the last one. What a foolish human.”
The Dragon-san never stops one-sidedly belittling the presenters.
“…Tanaka-san, please come back soon.”
My mind and body are already at their limits.
I didn’t say this to anyone. I was just muttering a quiet prayer to myself when I heard the door slam open behind me.
I turned around expecting a miracle but was met with the sight of Fahren-sama standing in the doorway.
“Maid! Has that man returned yet!?”
He’s still doing this?
Every time the presenter changes, Fahren-sama comes bursting into the VIP box and asks if Tanaka-san has returned.
“N-No! He’s not here yet!”
I leapt out of my chair and gave him an answer. I felt like I could hear a wet squelching sound coming from my armpits. I’m drenched in sweat. Luckily, my maid clothes are white. If they were grey my maiden heart would be crushed.
Fahren-sama looked disappointed after hearing my answer.
He must really like Tanaka-san.
But I don’t care about that. I just want to return to the safety of the dorm.
“The first days of the conference mostly consists of minor presenters. I can’t give up hope yet.”
“It’s just frustrating. If one of the VIP seats goes unused it’s removed almost immediately and put to use in a different box. They didn’t even hesitate to take it after I assured them he’d be returning….”
I’ve never seen Fahren-sama so flustered.
Two days ago Tanaka-san was attending this conference as I am now. His seat had been removed after his lack of attendance yesterday and this has caused Fahren-sama’s strange behaviour. While we were in the carriage heading to the conference, he told me about the conference but wouldn’t stop complaining about how Tanaka-san’s seat was taken away.
I’ve never seen him so concerned with another person before.
“I told you this earlier, but, please, tell me the moment that man arrives.”
Y-Yes, I’ll tell you right away!”
I bowed deeply to Fahren-sama.
Then, Fahren-sama left. He left as quickly as he came. Like a storm that blew in suddenly, causing me unnecessary stress and shortening my lifespan by 1.2 years. I could hear his footsteps fading away down the hall until there was no sound left at all.
Haa~. I let out a sigh of relief and took my seat once more.
Then, the next presenter took the stage as if they were waiting for Fahren-sama to leave.
“It’s now my, Lydia Nannuzzi, turn to give my presentation.”
I heard a voice and name that I recognized.
I remember reading her name after my visit with Sabrina-san.
“The announcement I will be making at this year’s conference has the potential to increase the magical strength of this country by tenfold! Everyone, I hope you will give me your undivided attention.”
She was talking about some amazing advancement she had made. I still don’t fully understand what she’s talking about, but a ten times increase in strength I can understand.
This piqued my interest and my attention was drawn to the stage. A woman in her mid-thirties was standing in the centre of the stage. Like most teachers, she was a noble.
“What I have to show you here today is a new mana solvent. It is much cheaper than compared to conventional means and can be mass-produced with relative ease. The effectiveness of this solvent is on par with intermediate level mana potions.”
As the noblewoman spoke, a quiet murmur swept through the crowd.
This really does appear to be a major announcement.
Those in the VIP box also seemed impressed.
I glanced over at the Elf-san seated next to the Dragon-san.
Her eyes narrowed as she focused on the woman on stage. Her lips curled up into something that resembled a smile, but the expression on her face was filled with malice rather than admiration. At the same time, her dignified profile looked quite cool.
She looks younger than Ester-sama, but she’s an elf so she’s most likely older than me and even the presenter on stage. I’ve heard that elves live for much longer than humans and they age at a much slower rate. As a woman, I’m envious of her.
“Please, bring your attention to this diagram.”
A huge diagram on a board was wheeled out onto the stage.
The figure drawn on the board was a vertical line that ran perpendicular to a horizontal line. There was a third line that started on the left that gradually increased in height until it reached the top of the board on the right side.
“This line here represents the upper limits of what the base ingredients in the solvent are capable of on their own. However, when subjected to certain procedures developed by me, the effectiveness of these ingredients increases exponentially. As I said before, these materials would become as effective as an intermediate level potion.”
Nannuzzi-sama spoke casually as she seemed to be revealing something amazing.
“Now, if I could please direct your attention to the next figure.”
Another large board was brought out on the stage.
It was another diagram that resembled the first.
“This graph here represents the permeability of the ingredients used. As you can see, after being subjected to my procedure, you can see a marked increase in this trait. Again, to a level resembling that of an intermediate level potion.”
She pointed to areas of the diagram as she spoke.
The entire crowd was discussing her presentation.
They all sound impressed.
“Now, I’m sure you’re all dying to know what the ingredients used in this solvent are.”
Nannuzzi-sama had the crowd in the palm of her hand now.
Many people in the crowd took a guess as to what the ingredients could be, but Nannuzzi-sama dismissed each of their suggestions. Even a simple maid like me is interested, so I can’t imagine how desperate everyone else is to hear the answer.
After waiting for a few more answers, Nannuzzi-sama finally revealed the ingredients.
“I expected that many of you would guess expensive materials. The horn of a unicorn or the rare Rilota herb. But the ingredient used is something most would pass off as useless. That is because this ingredient is —”
She paused to build anticipation before saying,
An overwhelming roar erupted from the crowd beneath us. This eruption of noise caused others to cry out, demanding silence, but this just caused more of an uproar. It’s like they’ve all lost their minds.
“Hou…she actually discovered the true potential of that grass. Not bad.”
The Elf-san was speaking to no one in particular.
“Fu~n, so it can restore your mana reserves on its own. That guy would never die with that.”
Dragon-san was being her usual self.
And I was left wondering why exactly everyone was so amazed.
I don’t know the details but this seems to be the discovery of the century.
Fahren-sama was seated on the corner of the stage in the chairman’s seat as he demanded silence.
Did he manage to get down there already? He’s fast for his age.
“Baronetess Nannuzzi, please, continue with your presentation.”
Prompted by Fahren-sama, Nannuzzi-sama continued her presentation.
“The root of my theory is actually the pigment of the pessari grass. By refining this pigment using a very simple technique, you can create a solvent with the qualities I presented to you earlier. Now, I will show this process to you.”
With each subsequent word that left her mouth, the noise coming from the crowd increased.
“The pessari grass is put into a phial or flask and boiled in water until the pigment on the grass is completely gone. This creates a broth that will have beneficial effects on its own, but if you broil this distilled water under the intense flame of a fireball, the pigment will have the desired reaction….”
The Elf-san seemed to be admiring her work.
“She managed to come up with the same method as me….”
Tanaka-san always praised her work as an alchemist. I remember the medicine given to the princess was made using her recipe.
She must be an exceptional alchemist.
“This is why the Penny Empire’s royal academy is deserving of its position as number one.”
Everyone seemed impressed. It must be an amazing announcement after all. Even if I weren’t allowed to attend, I’m sure I would’ve heard rumours about this spreading through the academy within a day.
“Still, specifically saying ‘fireball’ means she doesn’t fully understand the process. Well, I can’t expect someone like her to match my level of intellect. Fufu. Fufufu.”
The Elf-san seemed happy about something.
When her face is less stiff she actually looks cute.
I think she’s a person that’s full of cute expressions.
“After continuing to heat the liquid you will eventually be able to extract this pigment as a powder. You then subject this powder to intense pressure until you are left with a solid capsule of pure pessari grass pigment.”
She took a small object from her breast pocket and held it out to the crowd.
Everyone was instantly fascinated with the small object.
“And this is one of the many benefits of using this process. Typical mana potions are liquids that require a container to be stored in. With this being a solid, it is easier to transport and can even be dissolved in a liquid at a later date to be used on multiple people at once.”
She placed the small object she had in her hand into a flask.
“Simply add water and you have a proper solvent.”
There were a few bubbles that came from the capsule but not much else.
“And now I’ll add mana.”
Nannuzzi-sama held out both hands towards the flask.
This must be how she adds mana to it. She started to chant and her words slowly filled the room. More bubbles started to appear until it looked like the water had been brought to a rolling boil. A bright light began to come from the flask until it looked like the liquid was on fire.
This process continued for a while.
The bubbling finally subsided and Nannuzzi-sama lowered her arms once the light faded. The blue liquid was now moss green.
“With this…the mana potion is complete.”
She looked over at the now silent audience.
“Now, which brave soul is willing to test this potion made using ‘Poor People’s Salad?’ If there any volunteers, please, raise your hand.”
There were no volunteers in the audience below us. I tried to raise my hand but it got caught up in my hair. I sank into my chair feeling embarrassed and hoping nobody noticed.
“I’ll be your volunteer.”
“Oh, Fahren-sama, thank you. How lucky must I be for the chairman to test it himself.”
The green liquid flowed down Fahren-sama’s throat.
For a moment, Fahren-sama’s face distorted and it looked like he was about to cough up what he had drunk, but he continued drinking the remainder of the potion. It must taste terrible.
“…there doesn’t appear to be any lie in what you’ve said.”
He wiped off some liquid from his mouth and spoke indifferently.
“I agree that this discovery has the potential to increase the magical strength of this country by even more than tenfold. Truly impressive research.”
Cheers erupted from the audience.
Uuoooo~, or something like that.
It was amazing. I felt as if the entire room was shaking from the raucous applause.
“With that, I, Lydia Nannuzzi, have finished my presentation.”
As she gave a deep bow, she was met with another wave of cheers. I glanced over at the Elf-san to see her reaction.
“I see. She increased its effectiveness by putting it under intense pressure while simultaneously adding water to it. I never thought that would have much of an effect. Simple but extremely effective. Amazing. This is stimulating my own creative drive.”
A bright smile spread across her face.
But she seems motivated to make something even more impressive. How nice. She must really love alchemy from the bottom of her heart.
There was another exchange between the two people onstage.
“However, that taste is truly horrific. There needs to be an immediate improvement made on this area or this will never have any practical use.”
“Yes, that is exactly what I plan on fixing next. Everyone, can you please give a big hand to Fahren-sama who used his own body as a test subject!”
Lydia-san is a great presenter.
A lower rank noble like a baronetess could easily draw the ire of other nobles if she showed up everyone else at the conference, but it looks like she may have avoided this by having the final note of her presentation be on Fahren-sama.
The only thing I can think to call this is a great success.
I can somewhat understand her position as I’ve had to advertise for the store out in public many times, but she is a noble so I’m not sure how to feel. As almost certainly the only representative for the commoners here, I obediently joined in the applause.
The Elf-san is incredibly impressed.
Her eyes are sparkling as she looks down on the stage. She looks like a child that just got a brand new toy. And she even looks like one too.
My inferiority complex is being stimulated to the highest degree.
I wish I could switch places with her.
“Baronetess Nannuzzi, simply an amazing presentation.”
Her great success was confirmed with Fahren-sama’s final praise for her.