I took a break last week but I still didn’t have time to rest… Oh well. Next chapter is in 6 days. Probably (⌒_⌒;)
Chapter 54: That time when a group was gathered after I made some sweets
I’m helping out with the reclamation of the forest today
I could use 【Wind Cutter】which was useful for cutting short weeds and bushes but it’s impossible to cut trees with it. I wonder if it’s because of the hardness of the material? No matter how much I hit them with the thin blades, it only leaves small marks.
Because of that, I decided to try and make some kind of chainsaw using magic. In order to reduce the mana cost, I’ll try using ruby and sapphires first instead of going immediately for diamonds.
I slightly raised the top plate by 3 millimeters higher than where it usually is and set it on an obtuse angle instead of the regular acute one since I don’t have to worry about it being chipped. As for the distance between the left and right cutting tooth, I just set it to about a millimeter wide. I can’t really hold it while it’s spinning at a high speed so I’ll just make it float in front of my hand.
In order to cut the tree, I first cut a notch on the side where I want the tree to fall. After that, I proceeded to cut horizontally on the other side but stopped just before I cut all the way through, then I inserted a wedge on the horizontal cut and just hit that in order to safely make the tree fall.1
It doesn’t have an engine so you can only hear the sounds of the wood chips flying off while cutting trees. It’s nice that it isn’t loud, isn’t it? Now that I have this, it feels like I could cut through anything.
Before I started cutting the trees in the designated area, I had the roots and stumps that were protruding forcibly pulled out with magic and piled them to the side for the time being. Once that was done, I started working.
After a while, I noticed it was almost 10 AM so I thought it was time we take a break.
「It’s already the time between breakfast and lunch so you guys should take a little break. I’ll just go and take a look at how the others are doing okay?」
After saying that, I decided to roam about for a bit.
By the way, the mock chainsaw didn’t look like it was overheating and there were no chipped blades after using it cut several trees. Once the tree falls down, everyone who was in charge of reclaiming the land would start cutting off the branches. Once they’re done with that, they would use their axes to cut it into reasonably sized chunks then carry it off to a vacant house that we’re temporarily using as our woodshed.
Speaking of houses, I also used another vacant house to smoke meat and fish there so it won’t go bad. Once we were done draining the blood, taking out the viscera and removing the meat from the bones, we washed the meat and fish with sea water then hang it in there. After that, we smoked it for an entire day and did what they call Cold Smoking. To be honest, I would want us to dry the meat and fish for at least a month but we’re still starting up so it can’t be helped.
Cold smoking considerable decreases the water content of the meat which is perfect for long term preservation but it takes a lot of time. It’s really suitable for drying large cuts and dressed meat.2 You need to dry something that big before it rots after all. Meat doesn’t last long even if you use either warm or cold smoking but since it’s a bit soft, it can be turned it into some sort of jerky. We would just cut the meat into thin slices and dry it with heat and smoke for 5~7 days.
We could do just that if we had some sort of net but I’ll just have to give up on that since we don’t have anything we can use to dry such thin slices. If we used hot smoking, we could have added some fragrant wood to give it a better smell but we would have to eat those on the same day so that’s no good. We should just do that when we’re barbequing meat.
To complete our smokehouse, we had to look for a suitable wood that would burn properly and fill the house with smoke and find a way for us to see if the fire has gone out and to be able to reignite it from the outside. I tried touching the dried finished product but it was still kinda soft and the exterior was only a bit dry. Well, this will last for a short while but once the rest of our meat supply is gone, we’ll have no other choice but to cook this half-dried meat. That’s fine though since we’ll be able to pickle stuff or even make sausages once we managed to make our own salt. As for the rest of the spices, I don’t really have a choice but to just leave it to the herb picking group to find them.
Incidentally, I had to consult with Fleur-san in order to find some mild wood to turn into chips for smoking. I didn’t choke or have my eyes water when I tried entering the smoke-filled room so her recommendation was really amazing. The smell wouldn’t be a problem if we had cherry trees here but I was told that the smoke from the wood chips that were recommended for me repels insects and has antibacterial effects so we could preserve this smoked food for a longer time. Well, the wood itself is really tough though so it’s difficult to turn it into chips.
The first group I visited were the children since I also had them do some work. Under Palma-san’s and Fleur-san’s supervision, they were tasked to gather sap from palm trees into a cup, collect them in a pot and boil it.
「Make the fire a bit smaller and stir it underneath while making sure you don’t get burnt. If you’re sweating a lot, you should go and ask Palma for some fruit and drink its juice」
Fleur-san who was watching over the cooking team was just mouthing off instructions. Well, I guess that’s the only thing she could do in that form.
「If you become tired, you should tell one of the human adults and have them take your place okay?」
As for the plan to make salt, I left that task to the women who really weren’t accustomed to doing mountain work. I hollowed out a large tree and placed branches that were linked to form the shape of the letter ‘A’ inside. Then, I had the women split the palm leaves in half and tie them to all of the branches inside of the hollowed tree so it would form several layers. After that was finished, I instructed them to draw clean sea water and continuously pour it over the top. By doing that, it would produce water that’s even saltier than regular seawater which we will boil to turn into salt.
「Is this how you actually make salt?」
「The water evaporates due to the leaves getting warmed up by sunlight you know? Salt gets attached to the leaves because of that and so it gets washed down and dissolved again once you pour the seawater over it. The water would decrease as you keep doing that and you would end up with something that’s even saltier than regular seawater which you boil in order to turn into salt. It’s much more efficient if done that way. If you feel that the water is too heavy, you can just continue until you only have half of the original amount. The rest can be done after you have taken a sufficient amount of rest. You guys don’t have to worry since I’ll send a few people to relieve you later」
This really isn’t at a similar scale to the Ryuuka-style salt making method but what’s important is to be able to produce enough salt for all of the residents here.
After taking a short break, I went back to cutting trees when the on child approached me.
「Maou-sama~. The sugar is done you know~?」
「Oh, is that soー? As thanks for letting me know, I’ll let you try the experimental sweets that I’ll make with that sugar later okay?」
「Eh? Sweets!? Yay~!」
「Also, it’s dangerous to come near me while I’m working so just approach an adult that’s nearby if something happens okay?」
It won’t be a laughing matter if they get cut by my pseudo-chainsaw after all. I’ve pretty much confirmed what was in my surrounding before I started and told the others not to come near me while I’m working but that doesn’t mean that it’s absolutely confirmed that there will be no more accidents.
After felling the tree I was working on, I raised the stump using magic then told the others that I’m off to make sweets.
「Sorry everyone but there’s something else that I’d like to try right now. Can I leave the rest to you? All that’s left to do is cut this log into smaller pieces to carry into the woodshed after all」
「We understand. We’re looking forward to the sweets you’ll make after all, right guys?」
After that, I went to where the children were working.
Hmmー, I guess this much sugar should be enough.
As I sampled a bit of the sugar that was produced, the confectionery that I could make right now came to mind. I asked Palma-san to give me one of her fruits and extracted the coconut milk out of it. Then, I mixed it together with wheat flour, palm sugar, and salt in order to make simple cookies. I wanted to put it into a pastry bag and just squeeze it out after I was done kneading it but since we didn’t have that, I just made something similar with magic. We didn’t have any butter but the cookies were able to rise somehow due to the small amounts of fats and oils contained in the coconut milk.
We don’t have an oven here so after cleaning it up, I used the smoking house instead. Since it turned out pretty well, I’m considering turning another vacant house into some kind of oven. We could just make one out of stone though.
While I was cooking, I noticed that the children were observing what I was doing from behind. I felt sorry for the children but I won’t yield the first bite to them. I just wanted to be safe since it might still be undercooked or it doesn’t taste good. I mean, I had to use animal fat to grease the pan after all. It sure would have been nice to have baking paper while making thisー.
Un, it’s average.
While I was thinking about that, I gave each one of the children a single cookie but they didn’t eat it immediately and just waited. I wonder if they waiting for me to give them permission to eat?
「You can eat those you know?」
After I said that, they all stuffed their cheeks with it. It seemed like they felt it would be a waste so swallow it immediately so the just kept it in their mouths to savor the taste.
They were recently slaves so I don’t know when was the last time they’ve eaten sweet things but I want to make sure that they are happy. It’s also possible that they didn’t get to eat any even before they became slaves. Thinking how that may be true makes me feel sad for them.
I have to go home during my designated day off so the kids would probably be lonely while I’m away.
I really can’t not go though since Suzuran and Latte will get mad at me if I do that.
This kinda feels like I’m playing the part of the husband away on a business trip, doesn’t it?
The children were saying that as they stuffed their cheeks while I was thinking by myself.
「Hey, you shouldn’t talk while you’re mouth is full you know?」
After chewing on it some more, they finally swallowed.
「Maou-sama is amazing~. You can even make sweets after all!」
「Well yeah. Let’s just keep this time’s treat a secret from the adults okay? That way I can give you guys more once I distribute this to them」
「I also helped to make sure the children weren’t in danger you know?」
As I said that, I dropped a 【Waterball】 by her roots.
It doesn’t seem like there were any odd noises that were heard after I cautioned them last night so they must have held back. I also haven’t caught anyone doing the kinds of sexual plays that I mentioned but they might eventually start doing those. The children probably won’t understand that yet but still……
Anyway, I also gave the tree where we were getting the sap from some water while I was at it. I wonder if I should distribute the cookies while they’re having lunch or during their afternoon break.
I decided to drop by the Ryuuka-style saltpan(Beta) before going back. It seems like they were doing just like I told so the amount of water has significantly decreased.
「Thanks for your hard work. How was it?」
「Thanks. The water has already decreased a lot so we were thinking that we should start moving it to the pot to boil soon. It’s really salty after all」
「Then, I guess I should make a simple stove for you guys here. Please wait for a bit」
After saying that, I took some red clay from the area where the reclamation was being conducted then I kneaded it after mixing it with some sand and water. Once that was done, I leveled the ground using magic and started forming it into the shape of a plateau with a hole in the center. After putting the pot on top to make sure it’s level and started drying it by blowing hot air on it with magic then started increasing the heat of the fire inside.
The water level decreased even further once we started boiling concentrated seawater and the crystallized salt kept floating up and sinking back down in the water. The job should be done after scooping those out and drying it in the sun. The salt crystals were kinda big but it’s no big deal.
「Hmmー. The one on this corner is a bit sweet, isn’t it? If we mix this with coconut water, it would become a makeshift oral rehydration solution」
「Sweet even though it’s salt? What’s an oral rehydration solution?」
「Hm? Ahh, it’s salt make by the sea so it’s bitter and sweet you know? Why don’t you try tasting it? As for the oral rehydration solution, it something that your body absorbs faster than just regular water so it’s better to drink that instead of water, especially on a hot day」
This kind of rough explanation should probably be enough for them.
「You really know a lot, don’t you? As for the salt……Hm? It certainly is sweeter compared to the ones you can find on the continent」
「Well, just like food, even salt has different kinds of taste I guess. The environment where it’s made is different after all. If there aren’t any problems, let’s make a lot of this and add it to the stuff we can trade. It’s almost noon soon so shall we head back?」
After saying that, we returned to the temporary base. I still haven’t done anything to add some variety to our meals but I guess it’s better than nothing. Once the hunting, fishing, and herb gathering group came back, I gave all of the residents the cookies I made and asked for their opinion.
「Ah, it’s been a while since I tasted something sweet」
「Nn~ it’s nice to have after a long while. I really didn’t think it would be possible though」
「That’s true. I didn’t think we would really be able to make sugar」
「This tastes even better than the ones I make. Ugh, my dignity as a woman is……」
「Maou-sama is really skillful, isn’t he?」
They all had different reactions. I’m just happy that they didn’t think it was bad.
「Un, it’s salt」
「Yup, it’s just salt」
The salt just got meager reactions compared to the cookies so it was a bit disappointing.