Atelier Tanaka Volume 4 Chapter 2 part8
Territory Pioneering 2
[Sophia-chan’s point of view]
Two days had passed since the meeting with Fahren-sama.
Just like I had done several days ago, I was currently seated in Fahren-sama’s VIP box. Previously, I had been here with the Dragon-san and the Elf-san. Today, however, I was completely alone. The Princess wasn’t here either.
I was wearing my usual maid outfit which made the situation all the more strange. A maid was seated in a chair reserved for important people with several other maids waiting to serve her. The situation is far away from the normal life I’ve grown used to.
“…ah, it’s starting.”
I could see the Elf-san on stage after the curtains opened.
Today is the final day of the conference and the Elf-san was invited as a last minute special guest speaker by Fahren-sama. Her claim of being the alchemist that created the medicine that cured the Princess was enough to quell any who wanted to deny her the chance to speak.
The Elf-san walked onto the stage from the right side and Nannuzzi-sama entered the stage from the opposite side.
They walked towards the centre of the stage where they each took their respective seats around a table.
Fahren-sama was already there waiting for them.
They exchanged a few words as they took their seats.
No matter how little I know, I must pay attention to everything being said.
This presentation will decide whether or not I have to flee the country. Even if it goes well, there’s still a chance I’ll have to flee. Honestly, I don’t like my odds.
“Today, we all have the honour to hear from the alchemist that created the splendid medicine that healed our great Princess and we also have the privilege of hearing once more from the star of this conference, the researcher Nannuzzi.”
“N-N-No, it’s my pleasure to be here….”
Nannuzzi-sama managed to get out a brief greeting.
The Elf-san just remained silent staring off into the crowd.
“I’m sure you all remember Nannuzzi. Could you introduce yourself as well?”
Is she nervous?
She looks like she’s about to burst into tears at any moment, she’s visibly trembling, and I can see the sweat on her face from here. When she and Ester-sama were forming the plan before, she sounded really mature and reliable, but now her behaviour is actually matching her young appearance. She’s even sitting down but her knees are still shaking violently.
“Thank you all for your interest in my research. I’m sorry I’ve been unable to answer any of your questions prior to this, but I’m thankful that I’ve been granted time to do this interview.”
“Y-Y-Yeah, that’s right! Me too!”
Even though it was the final day, the venue was still packed and some people were even forced to stand. It’s natural she’d be nervous with everyone’s eyes directed at her. I’m sure I’d be in worse shape if I were in her position.
The Elf-san is a bit of a scatterbrain.
Thank you so much for helping this useless maid.
“The main focus of today’s discussion will be on the pigment of pessari grass. Does that sound okay?”
It’s such a sad sight.
I don’t even think I can watch anymore.
I’m so sorry, Elf-san.
“The research these two alchemists have been conducting actually has a surprising amount of overlap.”
The more Fahren-sama spoke, the more nervous Nannuzzi-sama appeared to become. She was visibly nervous from the start, but, gradually, I started to notice her knees start to shake then her hips and now her entire body is shaking.
Fahren-sama was unable to avoid mentioning the obvious duress the two women were in.
“Are you feeling unwell Miss Edita? Would you like to take a short break?”
“N-N-No, it’s okay! I’m fine!”
“…that’s good to hear.”
She might actually be more nervous than me.
The fact that she’s putting herself through this for my sake caused a slight pain to run through my chest. Almost every audience member is a member of the nobility. If, by some chance, this were to end badly, would my punishment be even worse? And since I involved the Elf-san, there’s a chance she’d be punished as well.
Please, God, I beg of you, help the Elf-san.
“Haa~ hoo~, haa~ hoo~”
She took a few big breaths before finally speaking in a manner more appropriate for a respected alchemist.
“First of all, I wanted to say how impressed I am with your discovery regarding turning the distilled pessari grass pigment into powder. I mentioned this to you earlier in private, but adding heat actually lowers the quality of the potion.”
“I’m so grateful for your praise. And yes, you are right about the heat. I simply misspoke during the presentation. I will give an updated report after I conduct some further research.”
Unsurprisingly, Nannuzzi-sama came prepared. Fahren-sama would have informed her of what was to take place here.
“Furthermore, in your presentation, you described adding the powder to a normal mana solution to create the finished product. How did you come by this discovery?”
“Well, if I were to be completely honest, that was all by accident. I just happened to knock the leftover dregs into the mana potion I was working on and it had an extraordinary effect.”
“Even though it was an accident, my experience as a skilled alchemist allowed me to notice the effect and refine the technique further.”
“Then, a self-described skilled alchemist such as yourself would know that the pessari grass pigment would not be capable of possessing that much magical power on its own; even in its refined powdered form. It would then be easy for you to extrapolate based on this data that the true source of the magical power were the dregs themselves. Yet, you seem to have attributed it to the powder during your presentation.”
“I-In regards to that, I’ll need to conduct further research.”
A slight glimmer ran through the Elf-san’s eyes.
The words continued to flow from her pretty mouth.
“If you’re unable to, I would be happy to explain it!”
Her words were like a verbal assault against Nannuzzi-sama.
It was unfortunate that I didn’t understand much of what she had said so far and therefore, couldn’t fully appreciate what was happening.
“In regards to adding the leftover dregs to the mana solution, most alchemists would know that simply adding them to a mana solution would have little effect. If they were mixed in following certain techniques, however, they could cause a wide range of effects. The reaction seen during your presentation could easily be attributed to that.”
Even without being able to understand it all, I could tell the Elf-san was putting on an admirable display.
This combined with her childish figure made me want to root for her even more.
I’m so sorry I’ve put you in this situation, Elf-san.
“You only saw my presentation a few days ago but you’ve already managed to work out my principle theory. You truly are a remarkable alchemist. I’d love to be given time to pick your brain, but I’m sure you’d agree that a conversation like that should be conducted in private.”
“I’m fine with having that conversation here. I’m sure there are others here that picked up on the effect the dregs had besides me.”
As the Elf-san was gaining momentum, Nannuzzi-sama’s face was slowly getting stiffer. Especially after what she just said. I can see Nannuzzi-sama’s nails digging into her knee.
“To be honest, this specific reaction that I’d like to discuss isn’t something I would deem worthy of keeping secret. I have no qualms against discussing it in front of an audience.”
“Ah, sorry. By that, I meant specific reaction flow….”
The Elf-san began a long, difficult explanation I had no chance of understanding. She could’ve been speaking another language and I wouldn’t have known the difference.
I tried to latch on to any and every word I could understand, but it was far too difficult for me to follow. Even so, I didn’t give up and continued to listen.
After all, she’s doing this for me.
“…then, by adding water…the pigment begins to…followed by…complex reaction to….”
Nannuzzi-sama also fell silent when faced with the Elf-san’s clear in-depth knowledge of the theory she had supposedly come up with.
“The next step involves the remaining dregs…that then…a complex chain reaction…followed by….”
Everyone gathered at the venue listened intently to her explanation.
I think some of the members of the audience were as lost as me. Many looked confused or their faces were scrunched up, but it was clear that this was an important speech and everyone’s attention was locked onto her.
“…by doing this, the pessari grass pigment is altered in the ways previously mentioned.”
After a short while, the Elf-san finally finished speaking.
“I see! That is what makes the reaction possible!”
Fahren-sama was the first to react.
“W-Well, there are many problems to be solved before it can be put into practical use. Above all else, the taste is absolutely horrid. It can also be dangerous to directly ingest any ingredients derived from the pessari grass pigment. Tests will need to be conducted to discover the ideal and safe quantity for the average user to ingest.”
“I see, there are still a few problems to be worked out.”
The Elf-san and Fahren-sama nodded.
They seem close.
But Nannuzzi-sama was looking ill.
Because the Elf-san was waiting for her response.
“I myself have studied the dregs extensively and have subjected them to several different alchemic techniques. Many of them are complex and time-consuming while some are incredibly simple and straightforward. For you to make this amazing discovery by simply knocking them into your potion would truly be a wondrous discovery.”
“Y-Yes, it’s hard for even me to believe.”
“May I ask what technique you used to recreate this “wondrous discovery” during your presentation? It’s possible I may have overlooked one in my own research. I’m sure everyone here would love to hear about it as well.”
The Elf-san was now on the full offensive.
And it wasn’t just me that was taking notice; I could hear murmuring coming from the nobles filling the crowd. As expected of a great alchemist. Despite her nerves, she’s able to eloquently explain her complex theories with everyone watching her.
But her knees were still shaking violently.
She might even look pitiable if you couldn’t hear her speech.
Everything from the neck down looks pitiful.
“It really wasn’t anything special.”
Nannuzzi-sama responded calmly. Or was she just acting calm?
“I go through many processes every day during my research when trying to make new discoveries. When conducting one of my many experiments, I knew of the magical properties the pessari grass pigment possessed, but I also noticed that the potion was far more powerful than simple pessari grass could make it. Of course, I naturally assumed the dregs were the source of this power. I decided to do more experimenting with this mixture and adding it to a mana solution was the next logical step to take.”
It’s not possible for a commoner like me to understand.
Would it be similar to accidentally adding a chemical to laundry and discovering that it works as a great cleaner? Would Tanaka-san really be capable of discovering something like this on his own? No, of course he did. I know what I heard Nannuzzi-sama say in her office and the Elf-san believes she stole his work as well.
“So you’re saying it wasn’t an accident?”
“I thought I’d draw more eyes if I came up with a more interesting story than me spending hours and hours experimenting in my study. In the past, grand discoveries coming from accidents have created the best stories amongst alchemists and researchers. I’m sure no one here is interested in going over this same process over and over. If you still wish to discuss it more, I’d be happy to do it at a later date. Would you be satisfied if I recreated the experiment in front of you?”
“Would you mind doing it in front of Viscount FitzClarence?”
“…why do you ask?”
The Elf-san’s question caught Nannuzzi-sama off guard.
A threatening air began to surround the two people on stage. Nannuzzi-sama glared across the table at the Elf-san but the Elf-san didn’t back down.
The audience members also noticed this change in atmosphere. A quiet murmur began to erupt from the front rows of the audience. It slowly spread like a wave washing over the venue before everyone in attendance had joined in.
This caused the Elf-san to become even more nervous and her legs were shaking so much that her shoes were making a steady tapping noise on the wooden floor of the stage. She was trying to remain confident, but her entire body was shaking and she was on the verge of crying.