「Did you wait long Cyril?」
Lucy asked as she appeared before me with the other elves. I had called out the elves with good stamina including those from Nettle.
The members of Nettle were usually excused from any job except their training, but today was an exception. I needed as many people as I could gather for this task.
I had made it a special mission and only four members of Nettle who weren’t in Erucy did not come.
「No, there’s still time before we start. The Fire Foxes will come out soon so it looks like we’ll be able to set out on time.」
「So Cyril, you said that we were going to collect the materials for our specialty products and for making alcohol today?」
Lucy asked with a sparkle in her eyes. I had always emphasized the importance of this while keeping the particulars a secret so I she couldn’t help but be curious.
「That’s right. It’ll be near the mountains. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. It’s something amazing that we can’t collect any other time except now.」
「As expected, you won’t tell me yet.」
「Of course, you’ll just have to look forward to finding out.」
Lucy’s shoulders drooped in disappointment.
Well, it wasn’t really a big deal if I told her, but I had dragged it on this long already. I’d have her wait until she saw the real thing.
The Fire Foxes seemed to be ready as they emerged from the building. As usual, my three little sisters leapt over and clung to me as I patted their heads.
I felt a gaze and looked over to see Lucy smiling and giggling a bit. Thank goodness these girls weren’t subject to her jealousy. Even Lucy found these young Fire Foxes to be adorable. It makes you want to pat their heads to make their tails wag.
「Thank you for waiting Cyril-kun. Our preparations are complete.」
「Roger, let’s set off. It’s cold and our load will be heavy, but let’s do our best.」
I called out and received and energetic cry in response as we began to pick up the jugs and the hoses with sharp metal tips. The hoses were made out of deer intestines that I had cleaned and treated so they wouldn’t rot.
In the end, we had made 140 jugs. It was forty more than I had requested.
The Fire Foxes had truly worked hard to complete their task.
Each jug could be carried by a strong man, and two weaker people could carry one together. The weakest of them carried the hoses as we set off for the nearby mountain and the location filled with maple trees.
The weather outside was still cold and harsh, but the Fire Foxes naturally warmed the air around them and the Elves didn’t allow the warm air to disperse so the climb ended up being rather pleasant.
It was also due to this that the Nettle “Snowy Mountain Hell” Training was easier than I had initially intended and that made me regret things a bit.
「Now, we’ve arrived. Everyone place one jug in front of a maple tree. Maintain a distance of at least 5 meters between each jug.」
They all followed my orders, placing down their jugs accordingly. Then one out of every three people got a 40 cm iron stick and a long sharp drill.
「Go around and find a tree with a thicker trunk than the stick I gave you and begin collecting sap from it. You will use this to collect it.」
I took out one of the hoses with 5 pointed metal pipe jointed on the end of it.
If we chose young trees with less than 40 cm of diameter the sap would be low in quality and quantity, plus it would be bad for the tree so I prepared 40 cm iron sticks to measure.
「First you will use the drill I handed you to open a hole in the trunk. Once again, only choose a tree that is wider than the iron stick I gave you. If you use enough strength the drill will make it through the trunk. The drills have a marking on them, so only drill your way in up to that mark.」
I said as I demonstrated, twisting the drill around until it entered the tree. After about 7 cm, the marking on the drill finally touched the interior of the tree.
「Once you open the hole, take the pointed end of the hose and insert it into the drill.」
I took one of the pointed ends and stuck it into the open end of the drill. The two parts came together tightly and stuck there. The drill and hose fit perfectly together since I had made them out of the same piece of metal.
「I made the hoses with plenty of length so take the other four ends and stick them into other trees and leave the output end inside a jug. This completes the set up. In about five days each tree should produce about 30~40 liters of sap. This will then be turned into our specialty product which can be used to either make alcohol or sweet syrup called maple syrup.」
Next to sugarcane and sugar daikon/beets one of the major sources of sugar from plants was maple syrup. This was what I had been waiting for anxiously.
In my opinion, just considering taste, it was better than sugar beets or sugarcane.
I had been overjoyed once I saw the maple trees when exploring around Erucy….furthermore they were sugar maples that produced large amounts of delicious sap.