Vol 01 Chapter 11: Pottery

「How is going? Can you see it?」

「Umm, not really. It’s kind of hazy.」

Right now, I’m training in magic. What I’m doing is the most basic of basics, training to see the soul… but it seems I lack talent.

「It’s not that you’re exceptionally untalented, Almus. Among boys, you’re just a bit below average. Since it’s just the basics, you’ll definitely be able to master it if you practice for about three years.」

「Three years, huh… How long did it take you?」

「It took me three days.」

「… The difference is absurd.」

Maybe Julia is just a monster. That’s a relief.

「Magic is a field where the difference in talent is quite stark. Ninety percent is about talent.」

「So, is effort completely useless?」

「Not at all. Everyone can learn the techniques to resist curses, unless they’re completely braindead.」

Braindead, huh…

I’m only a bit below average, so I should be okay.

「When you curse someone, prepare two graves1. These words represent very well the risks of using curses, and every magician knows them well. Casting a curse is far more challenging than defending oneself against one. For an average magician, even casting a curse on someone unaware of magic is already a gamble. If the person realizes they are being cursed, the curse won’t take effect. It can be easily repelled by the willpower of the individual, and another magician can easily reflect the curse onto the caster. Although a magician of my level could easily curse you to death, Almus.」

「I remember you said that it’s easy to cast a curse on plants because they don’t have a will, right?」

I think she said that the first time we met.

「That’s right. That’s why crops need to be protected with a barrier. Generally, defensive spells are stronger than offensive ones. It takes three magicians to break a barrier set up by one. But I’m worth a hundred people, so this rule doesn’t apply to me!」

Julia said this, puffing out her flat chest.

Stop bragging every time.

「For now, you need to be able to perceive the world of the soul, so work hard every day. Just a little meditation before bed is enough.」

「Sounds like a workout.」

「It’s the basics, after all. I meditate every day too. Before I go to bed.」

In the end, it’s all about consistent daily effort, whether it’s physical training or magic.

「By the way, how valuable is salt? Do they get it from the sea or is it rock salt?」

「Salt? It’s somewhat valuable. It’s mainly rock salt. Boiling water for salt requires a lot of firewood.」

I see. 

So it’s a valuable commodity. I’d prefer not to use the iron swords to trade for it. I want to keep a certain amount of iron swords for self-defense. That leaves me with either mining rock salt ourselves or creating some kind of specialty product…

「Do you want anything in particular?」

「What do you mean? Are you going to give me a present?」

「No, not like that. I was thinking if we could make something that could be traded for salt. Just wondering.」

「Ehh, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head… Oh, how about pottery?」


Isn’t pottery a very common thing?

「Sometimes people from a region called Kirisia cross the sea to come here. The pottery they bring is completely different from what we use. It’s very sturdy and has beautiful colors. It’s become quite popular among the royal families…」

「I see. Indeed, the pottery we use is fragile and dull-colored. Thanks. That’s good to know.」

I’ll think about it as soon as I get back.

First, let’s list the characteristics of the pottery we use. It’s thick, brittle, and red.

This is due to the iron in the clay oxidizing. The culprit is ferric oxide. Basically, pottery in this area is baked outdoors, which supplies a lot of oxygen, resulting in this problem.

So, what should we do? Bake it underground.

We need to build an anagama kiln2. In a closed space, the heat doesn’t escape easily, and it can reach much higher temperatures than open-air baking.

Finally, we need to block the smoke and fire openings with firewood. By doing this, we can control the amount of oxygen supplied.

With less oxygen, ferric oxide doesn’t form. Instead, what forms is ferrous oxide.

The color of ferrous oxide is black. So, we’ll end up with black pottery.

That means sueki3.

Well, I’m not really an expert in pottery, but… We should be able to make something better than the pottery we’re currently using. I don’t know if it’ll be better than the pottery brought by the Kirisians, though.

Now, to make sueki, we need an anagama kiln. This type needs to be underground… that means it’s time for some heavy labor.

Do we even have time for such a task? Don’t we need to focus on farming?

Not really.

In fact, we have a lot of free time now.

We’ve finished harvesting the turnips, and now we’re growing clover. Clover is almost like a weed; it doesn’t need much care. In fact, it might be a hassle to remove it next year.

So, we have plenty of time.

「You’ve got your hoes, right? Let’s start making it.」

「Where are we going to make it?」

Soyon asked, holding a hoe.

「On a slope. I remember there being a good slope in that direction. We’ll make it there.」

「Do we need to dig that much just for salt?」

「It’s not just for salt. It’s handy to have something that can be exchanged for food in case there is any problem with the crops.」

We only have a limited stock of iron swords. On the other hand, we have plenty of clay and wood for firewood. There’s no worry of running out of those.

Plus, an anagama kiln can be used to make various other useful things, not just pottery.

There shouldn’t be any disadvantages to building it.

「Let’s go!」


And so, the construction of the kiln began.

The first task is to cut down the trees on the slope. The main workforce consists of ten-year-olds. You would think that the work will progress very slowly… But that isn’t true at all.

「Alright, the fifth tree!!」

「… Almus, are you really human? You’re clearly stronger than any normal adult.」

Tetra’s amazed voice overlapped with the sound of the falling tree.

Yes, I have a blessing that enhances my physical abilities. The Griffon dissed it for being mediocre, but it’s more than enough for chopping down trees.

Now, I have the physical abilities of a muscular adult man.

Really convenient. But I would have preferred the ability to read minds or the strength to uproot a tree with one hand. I guess I shouldn’t be greedy.

Anyway, the work is progressing smoothly.

Five days passed as we cut down trees, cleared weeds, and dug into the ground.

Finally, the kiln was completed. It is a novice’s work, so I don’t expect high performance. But since we weren’t trying to make incredibly fancy pottery, it’s fine.

「Next is crafting time.」

We kneaded the clay and shaped it. 

I’m actually good at this kind of meticulous work. In the fifth grade of elementary school, during a pottery experience, I was praised for my skill. That’s the extent of my talent. I got full marks in middle school art class.

「You little…!! You did it!! It’s payback time!!」

「Are you messing with me, you bastard!!」

「Boys, stop it! The clay is flying everywhere. Ah! It got on my clothes! You…!」

「C’mon, stop it…」

「… All idiots.」

Do these guys even have any intention of crafting anything?

Ron, Roswald, and Soyon started a mud war.

Tetra, Gram, and the other kids who didn’t want to get involved gathered around me, seeking refuge. They probably thought they wouldn’t be hit if they were near me.

I continue my work silently.

Having plenty of cups will be convenient, so I’ll make several. I’ll also craft large pottery for cooking, plates, and water bottles. We’ll be using them as well, so I need to make plenty.

Damn, am I the only one seriously working here?

「Hey, make your own tableware yourself.」

「Got it.」

Only the ones not involved in the battle responded. The warring bunch didn’t even hear me.

It’s depressing…

「Finally, it’s done.」

I pulled out the cooled pottery from the kiln. It’s a good shade of gray.

I flicked one with my finger, and it made a high-pitched sound. 

Seems pretty sturdy.


Tetra gazed at the cup she made, seemingly impressed.

Making your own stuff really feels good!



Ron and Roswald looked dejected. I’m not sure if their pottery wasn’t thick or what, but it broke.

「That’s what happens when you play around.」

Soyon said, crossing her arms.

From my perspective, you didn’t seem much different from those two…

「Well, there will be plenty of chances. Let’s make good ones from now on. We have a lot of time.」

Hearing this, Ron and Roswald’s eyes lit up.

And so, while cultivating the clovers, we continued to mass-produce pottery.

「Here, a present for you.」

「Eh! For me? Thank you!!」

Julia hugged the sueki with delight.

Is she really that happy?

「This looks really sturdy. How did you make it?」

Julia asked as she tapped it with her finger and listened to the sound.

「That’s a trade secret. By the way, do you think we can exchange this for salt?」

「I think it’s more than enough.」

That’s a relief to hear.

「Where should I go to exchange it for salt? It’s valuable, so I guess I have to talk to someone important to get it, right?」

「Hmm… how about I bring it for you?」

Eh!? Really?

「I’ll give you a pot full of salt for three of these pottery pieces.」

「Is that okay? You being the intermediary helps a lot, but…」

Negotiating with a village chief is one thing, but I’d like to avoid dealing with nobles or kings. I’m still a child. In the worst case, they might just take it from me. Borrowing the name of Griffon is not very reliable, so I would like to not depend on it.

If Julia can work as an intermediary, that would be the best.

「It’s fine. My payment would be one of the pieces, is that okay?」

「… Yeah, that’s fine. Then I’ll count on you from now on.」

Thus, the pottery-salt exchange agreement was formed.

1TN: This is a Japanese idiom, similar to the English ones: “When you dig a grave for someone, you might as well dig two,” and “What goes around comes around”.

2TN: An ancient Japanese kiln, is a long tunnel-shaped kiln, built into a hillside.

3TN: Sue ware, a type of Japanese pottery produced around the 3rd century to the 7th century.


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