Nino, can I have a word?
At Barnabas's call, I looked up from my desk, where I had been double-checking the paper with today's quota.
I had been prepared for this, but when it came to the moment, I couldn't help but feel a pang.
I tried to leave my seat quietly, but the disapproving glances of my co-workers came together.
I've been working here at the Royal Alchemy Workshop for almost ten years now, and I've still only mastered the basic alchemy.
No, to be precise, I haven't, but that's not important now.
Well, the busy workshop manager personally approached such a lowly craftsman.
I suppose it is understandable that he is curious.
However, it was almost certain that the conversation that was about to take place would not be about promotion or advancement.
There was only one thing he could think of when he personally called me, whom he rarely had a chance to talk to.
Letting out a sigh, I followed the workshop manager into his room.
The sound of the door closing behind me made me realize that I was separated from my familiar workshop, and my feelings wavered even after all this time.
I know that it is too late to regret this now.
However, I also knew that I would regret it more if I didn't do it, even though I knew it was impossible.
What I should have regretted was that my approach was a little too risky.
"Yes, excuse me.
The owner of the room urged me to sit down on an expensive leather sofa.
The sofa was soft and comfortable, but it did not make my heart sing.
I stared back at the face of my boss, who looked at me in silence.
He is a renowned alchemist, but many people would not recognize him as a craftsman from his gentlemanly appearance.
His gray eyes are full of intelligence behind his favorite pair of glasses, and he has a high nose and a well-trimmed mustache.
The top of his head is thinning considerably due to age, but in its place is a single white horn protruding from slightly above his forehead.
The race that rules the Holy Vilnia Kingdom with the blessing of light.
They are large, strong against disease, and long-lived.
In addition, there are many beautiful men and women.
Perhaps that's why many of them look down on pan-humans without blessings like me.
However, the person in front of me has never shown such an attitude.
Even now, the eyes of the Workshop Master Barnabas on me are filled with affectionate friendliness.
And a great deal of sympathy.
It's been ten years this year, right?
"Yes. You remember me well.
You remember me well, don't you?" The workshop manager, who had guessed my years of service, nodded as if it was obvious.
"That was the year I became the foreman. You officially became a craftsman here. It was really tough at that time.
Perhaps because he had been a commoner, Barnabas was subjected to a great deal of criticism when he took office.
There were rumors about him, and he received complaint after complaint that he did not remember.
However, since he was a trained craftsman, there was no doubt about his skills, and he was able to provide careful guidance to his subordinates, and the reputation of the products he produced soon surpassed that of his predecessors.
At the time, I was sixteen years old and had just barely passed the promotion test.
Moreover, since I was a pan-breed with almost no future prospects, I was supposed to be treated as a mere scullery maid.
However, the head of the workshop did not discriminate and trained me from the very basics.
I felt very fortunate to have been able to work under him.
And perhaps because I worked hard to live up to his expectations, I became proficient in the basic alchemy of all six magic stones.
I'm secretly proud that I've been able to return the favor a little.
I am truly grateful that you were there for me. I'm still thinking about it.
I can't thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule to teach me from scratch. I can't thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule to teach me from scratch. ...... And I'm a handyman, you know.
I'm not sure what to say, but I'm sure you'll understand.
But neither affirmation nor denial is uttered.
The foreman knows that there is nothing he can do about it.
It is said that the land we spend our days on is made up of the remains of a giant dragon that died in ancient times.
The dragon's power over all things was transformed into an element called the magical element.
Magnesium is present in all things and can cause various phenomena.
And the alchemy that takes place in this workshop is the act of interfering with and transforming all things by using the magical stone that is the crystal of the magical element.
Of course, with the necessary equipment, the same kind of processing can be done by hand.
However, smelting with magic stones had a number of significant advantages.
The most notable of these is that it saves a great deal of time and effort.
In the case of smelting, there is no need to be skilled in each task, which is essential in the case of ordinary production.
You only need to improve your knowledge of materials and the handling of magic stones to create many items.
And yet, the quality of the finished goods is guaranteed to be above a certain level.
All you need are materials, magic stones, and an alchemist who can handle them.
There are few more convenient means of production than this.
This is why daily necessities such as medicine and paper, which are in high demand, are now almost entirely distributed by alchemy.
Smelting is a good thing, but of course it has its own drawbacks.
First of all, in order to become a sorcerer, delicate manipulation of magic power is essential.
This is surprisingly difficult.
In general magic and sorcery, the instantaneous release of magic power is considered important, so it is quite the opposite.
To put it simply, to extinguish a burning fire, it is faster to pour a cup of water on it than to pour a cup of water on it.
However, to pour the right amount of water into a vessel, it is more accurate and reliable to do it with a glass than with a saucepan.
In this respect, a pan-breed like me had a great advantage in that I was not born with any blessings and had little magic power.
But the story is not that simple.
Only a race with blessings can master the art of alchemy that draws out the power of higher magical elements.
That was the common knowledge of the alchemist industry.
So it's no wonder that I, who have been working in this business for nearly ten years, am still treated as a lowly one.
Then, it is not so simple to say that this is a job for those with blessings.
A race with a blessing can only use magic stones that match their blessing because of their strong protection.
For example, in the case of the chief of the Barnabas workshop, who is a demon race, because of his light protection, he can only use white magic stones of the light attribute for smelting.
On the other hand, I can perform elementary alchemy with all six colors of magic stones.
Incidentally, even pan-racial magicians are usually limited to two or three colors of magic stones.
To get back to the point, I let the dexterous pan-racial do the preparation of the materials, and the blessing holders do the advanced finishing.
This is the reason why I am called a "do-it-yourselfer" or a "handyman.
Without your support, this workshop would not have been able to run properly. At least, that's what I think.
"You're overestimating me, Workshop Chief. But I'm really glad to hear you say that.
It's ............, that's why it's such a shame.
The tone of his voice suddenly dropped and he continued with a grave expression on his face.
I have a few contacts as well. It seems that the people of the Holy Order of the Dragon and Lance have found a person who has been spreading unsettling rumors in various taverns over the past month or so. I've been told that they'll be making arrests in the next few days on charges of sedition.
I guess they knew.
I gulped at the thought of arrest, a word I had never heard before in my life.
I don't understand how you could have behaved in such a way. "I don't understand why you behaved the way you did, but I guess you had to, given your personality.
"I'm sorry. I apologize for the inconvenience. ......
As I nodded, the workshop manager exhaled quietly.
He wiped off his glasses with a handkerchief, nodded slightly, and continued.
I can't bear the thought of my pupil, whom I have nurtured with all my heart, being locked up in prison. That's why.
I stood up and accepted the paper that was presented to me, and I couldn't help but stare at the letter of resignation that was written on it.
It's a small, unnamed settlement near the southwest border. The chief of the village is an old acquaintance of mine. I've been wanting an alchemist for the village for some time. You can take a breath of fresh air and stretch your horns until things cool down,......, oops, excuse me. I'm not sure what to make of it.
It was impossible for a craftsman of the prestigious Royal Refining Workshop to open a workshop in such a remote place.
However, it is definitely a perfect remote place to hide out.
In addition, there is probably a plan for him to take a token assignment and then disappear if he is pursued.
It's a big blow to have you leave, but ten years is also a big milestone. Why don't you take this opportunity to go out on your own?
I was silent, but the head of the workshop spoke to me in a gentle way.
Normally, it would be easier to fire a subordinate without question or hand him over to an official without a second thought if he were to cause trouble.
Honestly speaking, when I was called into this room, I thought it must be one of those.
But this master is the first one to worry about his disciples, even when they are about to come under fire.
I'm so grateful that I'm about to cry.
But it wasn't because I was thinking of an excuse or an excuse to refuse that I was choking on my words.
The location of the village mentioned in the letter of appointment had caught his attention.
The workshop manager's offer was completely unexpected, but there was an even greater surprise written in it.
I didn't think it would lead to this.
I took a deep breath, and bowed my head in reply.
What can I say to thank you for taking the time and effort to help me ....... I'd be happy to take you up on that.
"Well, ....... That's great.
It's a good thing that I'm not the only one who has a problem with this.
I'll be sure to contact you when I'm finished over there. I understand that you are very busy, but I hope that we can have a chance to talk soon.
The workshop manager's eyes narrowed slightly as if he was probing my somewhat rapid speech.
But he didn't pry, just gave me a slight nod.
You can take as much as you need. I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
"Thank you for all your help. Thank you for everything.
As I said my thanks, I looked down at the documents in my hand once more.
Along the southwestern border of the Holy Vilnia Kingdom.
The land of the division where the Dragonback Mountains and the Dragon Arm Forest overlap.
If I remembered correctly, this was the place where the "Village of the Beginning" was supposed to be.