“I’m so tired…”
The leftover fatigue from yesterday’s work felt like it was pulsing through my body.
I must’ve dug too many holes back then…
Today’s our first full-fledged day of classes.
Starting from today, we’re allowed to freely choose from the list of optional electives to try out.
I was just barely able to drag my lead-like body to first period, Herbalism.
I chose this elective without hesitation because it’s currently the one I’m the most interested in.
In the end, there were about 30 students in total gathered together for the class.
There sure are a lot of girls though…
Even the instructor is female.
“Thanks for coming everyone. My name is Amari and I’ll be your instructor for Herbalism.”
With a voice that had a nice chime to it, the instructor introduced herself as Amari. She seems to be in her thirties, while her round-frame glasses stand prominent on her warm face.
“Herbalism has many academic as well as practical aspects to it. What you learn here today can be used to help many more people in your days to come.”
That right there is one of the reasons why I chose this class.
I’m not interested in theories and the like.
What I want is knowledge that I can use in the near future for profit.
A good herb merchant will be able to create goods that sell for a higher price than what the herbs originally costed, and the knowledge on how to create those goods can be easily learned in this class.
“Herbs are generally common enough that anyone can experiment with them for a cheap price, but personally my goal is to develop a large variety that anyone can grow for free. For those interested there’s an extra seminar on this happening later on, it’s even self-sponsored.”
Amari-sensei gave a gentle smile.
Yup, she definitely has the heart of a nice person, unlike some other people I know…
“That said, please do, the herbal tour will be free because it’s your first time in class, and it’ll make me happy to see all of you in a formal lesson.”
Sensei smiled again. Ahh~ I’m being healed~
“Oh and even if you’re curious, make sure you don’t eat any of them. There are some dangerous ones here too.”
* * *
We followed Sensei’s instructions as we toured the herbs.
By the way, the herbalism classroom is located on the north side of the school on the first floor.
Inside are the herbs that are more suited for indoor cultivation methods, while all the others are cultivated outside.
Oh, and apparently this is the only classroom that directly has an exit to the school grounds.
Different kinds of herbs hung off of the walls and ceiling, while an abundant amount was being grown outside as well.
They fully utilized the land they were given, growing an amount I couldn’t possibly see in only an hour.
In the distance I could see something that looked like a vinyl house.
I was getting a little excited thinking about all the herbs I could grow here.
“Excuse me, but you’re… Kururi Helan right?”
Calling out to the me who was busily looking at herbs was a boy whose face was mostly covered by his hood.
He was short, and his complexion was pale.
….and ugh, he reeks!!
The intense odour of herbs seemed to emanate off him.
Trying my best not to breath through my nose, I was somehow able to choke out a “Yeah, that’s me.”
“The name’s Toto Gapp, and I’ve been interested in you for a while.”
“I-is that so?”
This is bad, our conversation isn’t even registering in my head.
Ugh, I can’t block the smell!
“Oh sorry, you’re acting like that because of the smell right? Just give me a minute to take off my jacket.”
As he said so, Toto started to remove his hood, moving to place it in the corner of the classroom.
While he was coming back, I tentatively tried breathing through my nose.
There’s no smell!
*Su.* (sfx: sniff)
No smell at all!
“I usually wear that to ward off people, because I usually go to places where some unsightly people can be found.”
Ward off people?! This is the first time I’ve heard of this.
“So you needed me for something?”
“Yeah, I was rather surprised that you were interested in herbs. If you want, do you want to take a look at the varieties that I’m developing at the moment?”
“Developing? Wait… You’re saying that you’ve cultivated new herb species?!”
“That’s right, that’s because I’m a genius in this field. Come on, check this out.”
He guided me to an area that had a mass of greenhouses lined up.
Eventually he passed into one and there I saw them.
There were herbs suspended off of the ceiling, herbs planted closely together, palm-sized ones, and some that were almost as big as I was!
All of them were unusual herbs that I haven’t seen before.
“Amazing right? I’m the one that created them all.”
“All of them?!”
“Yeah, but the unique ones at the vinyl house belong to Amari-sensei.”
“That’s still amazing though.”
I tried giving the small plastic building a small look around.
All of them were herbs that I had never seen before, and there were even some whose beauty rivaled that of flowers.
I couldn’t help but touching those ones a little bit.
Their leaves were smooth.
“It’s okay to touch, but don’t smell them. After you go to bed tomorrow its effect would kick in, and I’m far from finished developing them. I’m still conducting clinical experiments using storage flies.”
Are they okay with you doing clinical experiments here at school?!
Who gave you permission?! Is this really okay?!
…moving on to the next herb, I tried rubbing its leaves in my hand.
“Oh, that one’s also okay to touch, but don’t eat. One leaf and you’ll end up spitting out all your internal organs. By the way, I’ve already finished my clinical experiments with that one.”
I immediately backed off.
“It wasn’t safe with the flies?”
“Nope, the fly practically left for heaven with just its smell alone. It took an entire day before it broke free of its delusional world.”
This thing’s bad!!
Soon I was passed another herb by Toto.
I can’t help but feel my sense of values is a little different than his.
“This one’s different, this one’s more useful for humanity, for example… you know there’s herbs for curing colds and other diseases right?”
Telling me to wait, he left for the back of the greenhouse before returning with some tools.
…and then he suddenly started digging at the ground.
“Here, I’ll give you a hand.”
“No, I’m good.”
After a bit, showed me his hands covered in soil.
Inside was some kind of root that seems to have grown distortedly.
“If you eat this, you’ll feel an overflowing force come out of your whole body. It’ll be extremely useful for patients that require temporary strength in surgery and other operations.”
“Isn’t that amazing? Do you have any more of these?”
“Unfortunately no, there isn’t much of it. I’ve tried to develop a herb that gives the same effects while being able to grow quickly, but it ended in failure. In truth, when you ate it… well let’s just say that it was unfinished.”
…I wonder why he’s doing all this?
I’m getting a little curious.
“I’ve also got some special varieties of grass, that grow quickly and sell for a fairly decent price.”
…I want, gimme.
“…and that’s enough of my long introduction, so now let’s talk about the main reason why I approached you.”
“To put it in words, it’s because I’m interested in your club Kururi. You have about fifty people right? I just want you to get a few people to test some of my herbs, and of course I’d be willing to pay for your services.”
So it was that kind of thing.
“Rejected. No discussion. Sorry, but it’s too dangerous. Why can’t you just continue your experiments like you have until now?”
“I’m only one person, I can’t do everything myself, and it also leaves insufficient data.”
“Even so I can’t lend out any of my members. That would be too irresponsible of me as their leader.”
“Che, I thought you would understand…”
Toto was facing down, somewhat depressed.
He had a really regretful face, but I can’t be sorry now.
“Why are you so desperate to develop your herbs?”
“…” Toto silently continued to stare at his feet.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to say, well then if you’ll excus-”
“…its because of gold. I’m a still a noble even if it’s for a small border territory, but because I’m the fourth son, it’s necessary for me to find a means for supporting myself. I thought that because you were studying to become a blacksmith you would be able to understand… guess I was wrong.”
…I do understand! I just can’t tell you the actual reason why! I’ve been hitting hot iron all this time so that I won’t embarrass myself in the future!
We’re actually comrades!
“For that kind of thing…”
“Go ahead, laugh. You spoiled children of major nobles are all the same.”
Toto’s depressed mood seems to have hit its climax.
“Hey, what’s your expected profit margin?”
“How much do you earn with your herbs?”
“…I don’t know, I’ve never sold them. The only thing I’ve sold would be that grass I showed you before.”
“Well, as long as it doesn’t mess around with the human mind, I think it’ll be okay.”
“What about herbs that open all the pores in the body at once?”
What the hell is that?!
I had involuntarily retorted in my head.
“That’s… a little extreme.”
“I guess, but that’s just how some of them work.”
“For now, I’ll make a list of your medicinal herbs that I think will sell well, I’ll become your sponsor.”
“Well, that’s something I should probably tell you another day.”
“Understood, when do you think I should start selling? I’m fine with even starting tomorrow.”
“It’s probably best not to sell these at school, you aren’t prepared for it, and you don’t have the permissions to either. Instead, three months from now during summer vacation, come over to the Helan territory, and I’ll get you all the permits and stuff that you’ll need as a merchant. So for now just continue to develop your herbs that you’ll require then, and I’ll give you a hand after school when I’m free. You won’t be disappointed, I work hard.”
“-!! Thank you!! Just leave the development to me Kururi!”
Despite his bad complexion, I think this was the best smile he gave all day.
“Do you know about my territory’s hot springs?”
“Of course, I bet everyone here knows about them.”
“Lots of people, especially wives go there seeking to revitalise their skin, what do you think? Can you smell the gold?”
“Yeah, it’s a great stink!”
“What we need developed now are herbs that are good for the skin! That’s what we need now, Toto-kun!!”
“Beauty herbs, herbs that make people more beautiful…”
“Yup, those are the herbs that will bring in the gold, even better, one that has no side effects when used.”
“No side effects? That’s kind of unreasonable.”
“Unreasonable? Yes, but that’s nothing compared to the demands of a wife!”
Toto was chewing his nails as he thought. He seems to already be thinking of a way to cultivate them.
“I’ll see what I can do Kururi. If you have any more ideas make sure to tell me about them.”
“If I think of any, but for now I’ll visit you several times a week to help with the process. Our goal right now is to develop it before summer vacation starts three months from now, a beauty herb!”
…and that, coupled with his bad complexion was his best leering face he made all day.
I wonder why when people think of gold, they always start to leer for some reason…
Guess I’ll never know.