「Certainly this thing called rubber is really interesting. However, I doubt that something like this could be changed into profits that quickly. Hmm, the thing I can think off the top of my head for this kind of product would be to create it into some sort of storage device where it can store normally fragile products and protect them whilst being transported……Or perhaps another use for it is to make it into sturdy grip for the base of the sword or farming implements. Other then that…. I’m not too sure what else it can be used for」
Hegard seems to have taken a liking to the tactile sensations of the rubber, he was playing around with the white rubber and he wasn’t really paying much attention to the black rubber I lifted in my hands. His answer was sufficiently good. Although he missed some of the potential uses it can be created into, but considering that he had no prior knowledge of the thing known as rubber, it would already be hard enough for someone to come up with the things he did. Well I suppose it’s also because he’s a lord of the village, and it is inevitable for him to be used to critical thinking and finding solutions to potential problems.
「When I first found this object, I also didn’t have a good idea of what it can be used for. When I first touched the sap that drips from the tree, I merely thought that “wow this is sticky” and didn’t really think much else of it. There was this one time where the sticky sap dried out and as a result it actually became springy in texture. And thinking that this must have some sort of use, I played around with it to find more breakthroughs. And that was the first time I managed to create that white rubber」
「Ahh, Incidently, when we were going out for our patrol’s around the village together, I vaguely remember that you brought a small bucket. Is that what that was……. So, how exactly do you make this product? How much time does it take to make?」
I started by explaining the chronology of events and how I managed to obtain rubber.
「It doesn’t really take much time to make. The sap I was talking about, even if you just leave it as it is, it will naturally harden itself, but in order to make it as hard as the rubber I made, it does take a little more time. Moreover, if you don’t use the proper methods then only a part of it will harden or only the surface will harden. Additionally when you light a bon fire to burn the twig of the tree, you may notice a light brown fluid coming out of the tree.
There is also this one time where I accidentally spilled the light brown fluid into the sap, and the sap immediately started to harden, therefore I got curious and used magic to fiddle around with it. And, as a result of trying out a variety of earth magic, water magic, fire magic and void magic I managed to figure out that the moment the sap gets dry it will immediately harden all the way to the inside」
Naturally the story of me using a bonfire and what not were completely made up stories. I wanted vinegar but our house didn’t really have any, and it was not possible for me to just start fermenting beer in order to create vinegar as I would need to obtain their approval by explaining the fermentation process in detail. Because I couldn’t really help it, I could only wring out the fluids from the tree in order to make do. After obtaining the light brown fluids from the tree, I used magic in order to create acetic acid. I explained to my father how the dryness helped with the hardening process, when in actual fact, it is more accurate to say that through combination of chemical particles mixing with each other, a change occurred, well it would be really troublesome to explain the whole process but it should be fine if I tell him about it some other time, right?
「Ahh, that’s true, I know you brothers have a lot of magical reserves…….. In normal circumstances you would only use desiccation magic against certain types of monsters so that you can dry out their skins….. I believe that it should be fine because it’s you, but you’ve made sure that no one else saw you in the process of doing this, right?」
「Yes, I did all of this within the storage room inside the house, so there shouldn’t be any problems of that nature. However, if we were to simply dry out the sap, then it will possess a high amount of rubbish and garbage mixed in it, thus it is must better to filter out the sap by cleansing it with water and using linen cloth as a filter to remove the dirty stuff and only then should we start to dry the sap in order to attain the a better quality. And the results of filtering as much of the rubbish out of the sap as possible, is that you will be able to create the white rubber over there」
「Is that so? Let me teach you a little, at a time like this, the word you want to use instead of “rubbish” is “impurities”. In any case, the feeling of this product sticking to your hand is truly pleasant」
In this kind of manner, Hegard was trying to teach me certain words or phrases. This is probably the way Hegard taught his children, I often caught him teaching Mill or Farne in a similar fashion. I think that his ardent zeal in teaching his children is quite the good thing. Although that may be, does he really like the feeling of rubber this much? Since a little while ago, Hegard had just been fiddling around with the white rubber.
「”Impurities” is it? I understand. Well, let me tell you more about this rubber. This rubber can expand and stretch and when it shrinks it will return to its former shape. However, if you used a force too powerful, and you stretch it beyond its limits it will naturally break」
「I see, I see……」
The moment he heard that Hegard started to use his strength in order to stretch out the crude rubber. He was level 15 and he relied on his strength to pull the rubber. Ahh, I should probably stop him before, it breaks and he gets hit by the recoil of the rubber.
「Father, if you go any further then that, it will surely snap. If it snaps, the rubber will shrink vigorously and you may get hit by the recoil and it will hurt」
「Ohh? Is that so? Even so, I want to test it out. Is it alright if I break this rubber?」
「Well I don’t really mind it, but…..」
Ohh, this is amazing, its thickness is only about 1 cm, and its length is about 14~15 cm but it’s able to stretch all the way up to 1 m long. Ah, it broke.
「Ouch!! This really does hurt…」
「That’s why I told you… The white one’s main characteristic is that it is quite soft and it can expand and contract relatively well. Even with just that, I believe that it has a sufficient amount of uses」
「Nn~ You think so? Other then what you just said previously, are you sure people won’t just want to use it to play around with it?」
「Well, for instance, it can be used like this」
After saying this, I took the biggest piece of raw rubber which had just been torn apart by Hegard and brought out a knife. I started to cut the mass of rubber with a knife into long and slender strings.
「We can also make a long and slender string out of the rubber, like this. And then, make it into a ring like shape, we can form a waistband for trousers and this will save us time form having to tie our pants every single day」
「I agree that it is convenient, but I still don’t think that is enough to become profitable」
Hegard spoke to me with a little bit of disappointment in his face.
「I suppose that may be. If that was the extent of its usage then I would also agree that it is merely a little convenient. However, this is only one example of the usage of rubber that I have thought about. But what if I made this string a little thicker」
This time around, I spliced out the rubber but made it around 1 cm thicker. And a string about the length of 10 cm was created. After cutting the rubber into a string I passed it on to Hegard whilst continuing to speak.
「To be honest, it would be better if it was a little longer but because this is just an example, it should be fine」
Next I pulled out a Y shaped tree twig from the back of my right pants pocket, and then I pulled out a pebble from the front of my right pants pocket. This Y shaped object was a Slingshot. Attached to the slingshot was an elastic band which had the same sort of thickness as the one I just carved out, but was around 30 cm in length. I set the pebble in the slingshot. Folded up the window to open it and sling shotted the pebble outside the window.
「Ohh!? It seems to works like a simple version of a bow….? But what about the power?」
Hegard spoke with both a little shock and admiration at the same time.
「This elastic band was made using the same rubber I showed you. The only difference is the one I cut just now is a little shorter then this one. The strength will depend on the thickness and length of the elastic band, in addition to how long you want to stretch it, the other factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the size of the rock or pebble used. With the slingshot I have right now, unless you were able to aim and get a direct hit on to their eyes, if it hit a human being, it probably wouldn’t cause much damage」
「I see, I understand….So this is something that can be adjusted depending on the circumstances…」
Although Hegard had only seen me use this once, it seemed that he understood a little of what the slingshot is capable of if it is improved.
「That’s right. This rubber will able to output more force if we increase the thickness and length of the elastic band, also the size of the tool can be increased as well, and we don’t necessarily have to use a twig to create a slingshot, we can even use metal as the components for the parts. But when we do something like this, it will become a lot bigger and heavier as well. In conclusion, we would need to create a rubber that was more durable and that still retained its elasticity」
「I see. So the more durable one is this black looking rubber?」
「Yes, however to tell you the truth, the black rubber is one of my failed experiments」
「Oh? How come you purposefully brought a failure here?」
Hegard asked me in a curious tone. It’s reasonable though.
「This black rubber had to be made with a similar size and so I tried to add various other things to the mix to potentially improve it… 」
「In the end, did you manage to do it? 」
Geez, he’s so impatient. Well I suppose it can’t be helped. I understand the feeling.
「Whilst it wasn’t at the best standard, I did manage to do it. But turned a slight brownish color. I did this by mixing the sap before it dried out and turned hard, with a stone I found in the northern mountains, I first grinded the stone into powder and then mixed them together bit by bit」
I took out a brown colored elastic band from my pocket. Hegard puts out his hands so I handed it over to him.
「Hm? I thought that you said the black one is the one that had mixed materials? Well, never mind….. In any case, this one is a lot thinner than the previous one, isn’t it? However, this one also stretches much better. Not only that, the power it outputs when it shrinks back is also stronger」
「We can also use this thinner brownish colored band in a similar fashion」
I took out another sling shot from the left back pocket.
「Mu, this is much smaller. And yet, the strength of this particular band seems to be stronger than the previous one」
It seems that Hegard was pleasantly surprised as he spoke. Then, shall I go to the main subject?
「Although I do have plans for the other types of rubber I just showed you, my main object lies in the black one which I have stated is a bit of a failure. This brown colored elastic band is something I made whilst experimenting, it is essentially an improved version of the white elastic band. However, my true objectives lie with black rubber. This black rubber doesn’t really stretch very well, and because I had to mix a lot of ingredients into it, it has become slightly heavier, nevertheless, it is extremely robust. I believe that if I can perfect this black rubber, I can find plenty of uses for it」
「What do you mean by this? If you say that the black rubber, doesn’t really stretch very well, and it is heavier than both the white rubber and the brown rubber, isn’t it obvious that the other types of rubber are better? Even if you say the black one is more robust, can’t we just grab a more durable tree or wood as the base?」
Well it’s natural for Hegard to think like this because, in this world called Orth, there has never been any rubber products in the market. I haven’t really explained much of the special characteristics of rubber so I suppose he wouldn’t know much about it.
「Well at first glance it may appear that this black rubber doesn’t have many avenues for its usage. However, whilst it isn’t as flexible as the others, it’s not like it has lost all of its elasticity. I noticed it whilst I was making it, and what I discovered was that the more ingredients I mixed to make the rubber, it would reduce the elasticity of the product, however at the same exact time, whenever it lost a little bit of elasticity, it would also become more robust and durable. And what’s really interesting is that the durability of the rubber, depending on how it is made, has the potential to completely exceed the durability of the wood. Another important detail, is that because it doesn’t completely lose all of its elasticity, to a certain extent, it can formed to various shapes」
「Ok, well I don’t completely get it, but you told me that it can become more durable than wood, is this true?」
Oh, is that where he took the bait? But please let me just continue on with my explanation.
「Yes, it’s true, then please allow me to explain to you the various uses I have come up with for these rubber products. First let me start with the white rubber, this is made by merely filtering the sap and then hardening it, I will call this ‘raw rubber’, and I haven’t really found much use for it. In any case, the things I’ve thought up is that you can use it to place a thin layer over a horses saddle, or create it into a belt kind of shape and attach it to something, and of course using it on bottom of boots and or shoes to act as a sort of cushioning, which will make it much softer and easier to walk with……Ah and naturally it can also be made into shoe padding to be inserted into the shoe itself. Whilst it is fine to put it outside of the shoe, due to how soft it is, it may easily get damaged.
The next one I will talk about is the brownish colored rubber, this rubber is more durable and elastic than the raw rubber and because of this, it is also able to produce more force. However, at the same time, it is easily cut using a sharp edged tool. The way we can use this brown rubber, is just like I mentioned previously, we can use it to improve our clothes or even use it to invent new types of weaponry, and it is likely that we can also use this for our shoes. Another thing is, depending on how thick we make it, we can use it to help package products and bundle them up.
If we made this into a bag of some sort, I assure you that it will be much higher in quality, than the water skins we currently use, which is made out of goat and pig stomachs and skins. Ahh, that’s right. When the sap dries out and hardens into rubber, water won’t leak through it. Therefore, we can also use it to make corks for barrels to prevent fluids from leaking, if we wanted to, I could very easily create a cork and use it to cover the current water skins we have」
「I see, it seems that there are many uses for it」
I think that I was able to increase the amount of favourability he felt for my rubber products slightly?
「And lastly, about this black rubber. This black rubber was made and discovered whilst I was creating the brown colored rubber, it is created by mixing various stones grind into powder form and some charred powders. That’s why the color is black. At first mixing a little bit of the ground powder into the sap would actually make it more durable whilst increasing the elasticity, however, there is a limit to how much you can mix. When I started to include charred powders of various kinds, it immediately made the elasticity become worse, however, the hardness and the durability increased. That black rubber, please try to use this to cut it」
Whilst I said this, I passed Hegard a knife. Hegard placed the knife on top of the black rubber, but because it was much tougher than expected he seemed to be quite surprised.
「This is…..quite tough, isn’t it. Not to the extent that I would be unable to cut it though. But still, it is considerably strong. If it’s this durable, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is tougher than wood」
「Because it is considerably durable, I would propose that we name this rubber, ‘hard rubber’. Next, please try to cut this」
I took out a black rubber which was in my left pocket, the dimensions of this particular rubber were: thickness 5 mm, width 2cm and length 10cm.
「 ….!! This isn’t even that thick, but it’s still really strong. If I were to use this knife, it wouldn’t be that easy to cut it. Even though it’s this small, this is quite impressive……」
「Well this took time to carefully mix and create. So whilst it may become a little heavier, it shouldn’t exceed the weight of metal or wood, and yet it’s still sufficiently robust. If molded into the correct shape and size, we may even be able to use this in parts of our Armor, besides that, this hard rubber can also be attached to the bottom of the shoe to make it more durable. Of course, it’s not like it won’t whittle away slowly, and it also won’t be as strong as metal. Because this black rubber is kind of glossy like ebony, therefore, I will name it ebonite」
The look in my father’s eyes changed. This looks like it’s heading towards a good direction.
「This product, in a single day, how much of it do you think can be made?」
「The amount of sap and raw material that can be harvested from the tree each day is very little. The amount created into rubber is approximately 1/3. Therefore, in order to make the rubber over there, it will take around ten trees」
「I want to ask you about this tree, where exactly is this tree located and how much of it is growing? 」
He’s asking me with a considerably serious look on his face.
「It grows in the southwest of the village, and there is around 200 to 300 trees, I haven’t really counted it one by one, so I can’t tell you the precise figure」
「I understand. Next question is, in order to create the sap and turn it into rubber, just how much magical energy needs to be expended? Is this something Sharl will be capable of doing?」
It would seem that he’s totally taken my bait. If it’s like this, I think it will proceed nicely.
「Because it uses earth magic to accomplish, I think it may be a little difficult. But if it’s Aneesama, I think she will be able to do it without any problems. However, the raw materials can be obtained by a combination of things, the fluids you get when you burn the tree or the charred powder are things which can obtained from the mountains even if you didn’t have any magical capabilities, as long as you had sufficient time and the correct procedure, without a doubt anyone would be able to create this product. In fact, all of the rubber I have shown you today was made without the use of magic」(TL Aneesama = Elder sister)
「I see, it seems that there are many methods you can use in order to create rubber. In that case, you should try to make something useful for us to sell. If it begins to sell well enough, we can expand to selling the products to Doritto Town. And if it goes exceptionally well, I can even think about buying you those horses」
With that being said, it was time for me to go into development of rubber goods. We shall see what I can accomplish!