Act 34: Muffin and the Boy

Cordelia tried to return to her book, but she realised that Gille and Vernoux weren’t reading, and were writing something.

“What are you two doing?”

Vernoux showed Cordelia the book he was holding when she asked that. The book had some pictures of medicinal herbs, but the names of the herbs weren’t written in the book. 

“Our task is to name the herbs. We have to guess the name of the herbs in the picture and write down their traits in this notebook. Sensei said we can look at the books on that shelf, so we can look up things we don’t know. And we have to remember them one by one.”

Vernoux continued while pointing at the book and notebook. That notebook is probably something he brought with him. I should have prepared one too, she thought, but nothing could be done about it now. I have to make sure not to forget one the next time.

(Oh yeah, I can use Lara’s pencil here if it’s completed to a certain extent. It’s easier to carry around than a pen and Vernoux-sama also seemed interested in it.

I really want to show it to him… No, I want to show him the complete product. I forget about it if I don’t think about it, but he is the heir to the Flantheim House. If he likes it and uses it in a public place, then I can probably get good advertisement. 

(Of course, it was made for the village children to use while studying, but I can also get more funding if it sells. Luckily, the Pameradia fief has a lot of timber, and I can make it a new speciality-… I wonder if this is just wishful thinking.)

But in any case, making money is a good thing. 

I don’t have the confidence to make plastic erasers right away, but I can make bread erasers. If I can, I want to sell that together with the pencil.

(Well, leaving that aside for now… It’s more important to distinguish the difference between similar flowers right now. There was also a lot of news in Japan about accidents happening because of similar herbs, huh.)

I remember seeing news on accidents such as people mistaking Chinese chives and daffodils or mistaking poisonous mushrooms for edible ones. 

(It can also be life-threatening. I have to remember how to tell them apart.)

Cordelia thought that and checked the book that she was given. The hand that she used to open the cover was a little stiff from tension. 

There was no introduction in the book that she had been given and it was filled with content about plants from the beginning. The left page had the herb drawn from many angles and the left page contained the herb’s name, traits, cultivation conditions and usage. 

(Not a lot of books in the library at home had cultivation methods in them, and the pictures didn’t have as many angles like this.)

The amount they could publish is probably different too.

The books in the library at the Pameradia House described a wide selection of herbs. They probably didn’t include the habitat because the books included poisonous herbs. On the other hand, this book could be found in the vicinity of the Royal Capital, or even on main roads, and contained a careful selection of herbs that were easy to grow. They could probably provide more details if they didn’t publish many copies. This was perhaps the best book for Cordelia if the Green Witch assumed that she was interested in universal herbs. 

(But, there’s too much information here for an introduction to these herbs. Especially the companion plants. It’s extensive.)

Companion plants are plants that provide a positive effect when grown with other crops, such as vegetables; ――― for example, plants that keep insects away.

A typical example is calendula[1]daisy marigolds in the Asteraceae family and marigold in the tagetes erecta[2]mexican/aztec marigolds family, which look very similar to each other. Marigolds were purely for admiration, so they can’t be used as a substitute for calendula. But it was compatible with a lot of plants, and has effects such as keeping away insects, preventing plant diseases and helping in growth. In Cordelia’s past life, she had planted it with corn before.

(However, this book doesn’t have any entries on marigold; all the entries are about plants unique to this world.)

At the same time, she thought about absorbing new knowledge, she finally remembered about marigold and kept in mind to find marigold habitats in the future. She couldn’t find where they grew when she had skimmed through the pages before. I probably can’t get it around the Royal Capital’s outskirts, which means it’s also worth looking for.

Cordelia gained new knowledge and a goal, so she cheerfully moved onto the next page… and froze.

The usage of the herb on that page horrified her.

(Ummm, pickle legs of brown frogs with leil grass… eh, frogs?)

She thought she had read it wrong, but she saw the word ‘brown frog’ written on the description when she looked at it again. 

She had heard that brown frogs were sold in the Edo period as something that could stop infants from throwing tantrums and crying at night. 

Regardless of whether they had that effect or not, Cordelia wasn’t very good with frogs. She didn’t want to touch them if possible. So, she would have difficulty peeling the skin to use the meat. 

At any rate, Cordelia didn’t know if frogs were served as food in this kingdom. No, on reflection, there may be edible frogs here, similar to the American bullfrog… As someone who lived as a Japanese person, she had never eaten frogs before, so she was against it. To begin with, the frog in the book looked big enough to be found anywhere and wasn’t the same size as an American bullfrog…

(Although, this doesn’t mean that brown frogs are used for the same purpose here as they were in the Edo period. The effect of this leil grass might be used to cure some other diseases.)

I’m not good with frogs, but I have to touch them straight away. I might be able to achieve results with what I know. I’m motivated to touch them through willpower and spirit if they do give an immense effect.

Cordelia continued reading. 

(After boiling the frog legs with salt, coat them with minced leil grass and eat it… so, you do eat it, after all. So, it helps settle children’s stomachs? Amongst frogs, brown frogs had water magic, so it’s easier to boost the effects of the leil grass…)

She had learnt what effects it gave, but she still didn’t want to eat them. If it’s only about water magic then I think it could be substituted with fish, but is there a reason why it has to be frogs? But nothing else was written about it. I’ll remember to ask this later.

(But this is surely the end of the frog page…)

Cordelia pulled herself together and quickly turned the page. But the next page was also full of provocative things, which needed courage to carry out. Cicadas, bee larvae, grasshoppers… It wasn’t like she couldn’t eat them, rather, the culture of traditional food was something that must be held in high regard. 

(I’m not used to such a high hurdle. Well, I will do my best if it’s necessary…!)

If this is the introduction, then does that mean that the Witch usually makes medicine from plants and animals? But the bottles in the room all contain plants. I’m sure these entries are the exception. 

The next page will have something different… Cordelia believed that as she flipped to a new page.

“Oh, water plants.”

Cordelia couldn’t help but speak out in relief as she relaxed. The section had finally changed. It seemed that this section was about water plants, which grew in freshwater, and plants which could be combined with those that grew around the Royal Capital. 

(This is really interesting… Huh? It even has red algae which grow in freshwater?)

Most red algae grew in seawater, but she had heard before that some of them also grew in freshwater.

She had also come to the Witch’s place because she wanted to know about water plants, but she had read too many shocking entries in this book, so she didn’t think she would find them and was surprised. As she continued to turn the pages, the entries gradually went into red algae which grew in the sea. There was also an entry about seaweed from the gelidiaceae family which was used as fertiliser. 

(I can’t believe that I found it so soon…)

Cordelia was surprised as she read the entry. 

(Myles-sama or Clifton-sama are both knowledgeable about the sea, so I can probably get it easily if I ask them.)

Cordelia remembered the boys she’d met through Vernoux, who were good at trading. She had only met them once or twice, but they did send letters to each other. They would probably make arrangements for it if she hinted that she wanted to buy some. 

(But… if I can get my hands on freshwater red algae, then I also want to cultivate them in the Pameradia fief and export it out. Unfortunately, our fief doesn’t face the ocean.)

But if I can get water plants for making oblaat, then I want to proceed with that, for the most part.

Oblaat will definitely come in handy in the future. The primary thing is to get Hans to take his medicine easily, but others can also use it to take medication, and it can even be used for candy. 

(I don’t know if I can do it or not. I only know bits of information on most seaweeds. I don’t know if the water plants in this book could be used in the same way as plants from the gelidiacaea family.)

But I can try it if I’m curious about it. Fortunately, I have a lot of time, and I can fund it somehow if I am able to buy it… or so I would like to believe. And I can use it as fertiliser even if I can’t use it as materials for oblaat.

(At any rate, I have to cram all this information about water plants into my head.)

And I’ll immediately try to search for anything to do with seaweed when I get home. 

Translator: blushy
Editor: Senji


1 daisy marigolds
2 mexican/aztec marigolds