Atelier Tanaka Chapter 21 part2
Dorm Life 3
I was only trying to find a way to restore mana and I wasn’t paying attention to anything else at all. This was a mistake only an amateur would make. Even though the instructor explained everything properly, I wasn’t listening to her, and now I’m probably going to fail. That’s right. I still have time.
Could I try dissolving it in water once more?
But if I dissolve the tablet here, the aojiru flavour will return.
I think that terrible taste would be enough for me to fail anyway.
Even if the taste is that bad there’s no chance I’ll pass the exam with what I have now.
How much time do I have until she checks mine?
"Alright. I’ll begin checking each of your potions starting from the front."
Oh, Lydia-san is starting to move.
Each of the students has started to infuse their mana into their respective potions.
Surely the students at this school are capable of charging the potions using their own mana.
And yet I’ve come up with nothing to fix this.
And while I was left to think about what to do, the instructor continued judging each student. Slowly, she made her way down the first row of students one after another. She'll try the potion and, after determining its effectiveness, she'll decide if the student passed or failed. After hearing the verdict from the instructor, each of the student's tense faces showed a bright smile.
So far it seems that nobody has failed. That's rather unfortunate for me. If even one other student had failed, this ramune candy that I managed to make might not seem so bad. Everyone is better than me. My classmates are amazing.
Finally, the instructor made her way to the seat next to me. Ester-chan.
"FitzClarence-san, are you sure you want me to grade this? This class is strictly for alchemy. There's a rule in this school that classes outside of your major won't count towards your final grade."
"I know. I don't mind. I'd like it if you would grade it."
"A-Alright. I guess it is good for a student to learn as much as possible."
Lydia-san seems to be a bit intimidated of the blonde loli. As the daughter of a powerful noble family, Ester-chan is already pretty intimidating. Add on to that the fact that she was a part of the dragon extermination party and the recent assassination attempt, and it’s not surprising that the instructor would be acting cautiously around her.
"This is the mana potion I created."
Ester-chan said this while pointing to a vial filled with blue liquid on the counter in front of her.
"I see. Then…."
Lydia-san was clearly nervous as she inspected Ester-chan's potion. She swirled the blue liquid around in the vial before lifting it to her mouth.
I could hear the faint sound of her swallowing.
All of the students watching also seemed a little nervous.
"…the potion itself is a little hard to drink, but it definitely has an effect. You pass."
Ester-chan managed to pass.
As soon as she did, the rest of the students that were watching looked amazed. She never even attended one class but was able to make a potion capable of passing this exam. She showed everyone here just how amazing she really is.
I was surprised.
You actually did it, Ester-chan.
Being able to pass an exam without ever attending any classes, how cool does she look right now?
"Amazing, FitzClarence-sama…." "The rumours about the dragon extermination party must be true!" "It has to be!" "What have I been telling you this entire time!?" "It's true that FitzClarence-sama is majoring in attribute magic."
Even with all of the students in the room praising her, the blonde loli's face never changed.
While still acting as if she didn’t notice their praise, she sat down in her seat. Maybe, even though she never attended any classes, she was still studying on her own in her room. Otherwise, I don’t know how this would be possible.
If I get the opportunity I’ll check with her personal maid, Rebecca-san.
It’s kind of what I’d expect a tsundere like her to do.
Now that Ester-Chan had passed it’s my turn.
I have no more time. I have to make a decision.
I’ll have to dissolve it.
"Now then, Tanaka-san let me see yours."
As Lydia-san turned to me I quickly threw the ramune candy into the vial of water.
The eerie sound of the tablet hitting the water could be heard.
There’s no turning back now.
At the same time, bubbles began to form in the vial. More and more appeared as if I had just added a bath bomb to the water. The water started to foam and the wooden supports holding the vial began to shake.
Wait, what is this?
I didn’t want this kind of reaction.
Lydia is staring at the vial with a look of shock on her face.
The other students are doing the same thing.
What did I do?
Why are you foaming?
The stares from the surrounding people hurt.
I remember this feeling from my previous life. In a quiet, peaceful classroom I had a terrible urge to sneeze. I couldn’t hold it back and let out a loud, "Achoo!" followed by me snorting my nose to bring in the excess mucus. This is what led to me getting the nickname 'Two Combo.'
Nonetheless, I can’t be worried about that now.
I just need to do my best with whatever I’ve created here.
"Please, just give me a moment and I can add my mana to it."
I half muttered this to myself and made a pose as I started putting mana into the potion.
It was a pose similar to the one you’d take when operating a lathe.
It’s the power I honed in the battle against Christina.
I let out a slight groan as I pushed both of my hands forward and tried to imagine sending my mana to the vial. Come on Tanaka. Please respond to my mana aojiru. I can feel the mana in my body pulsating at the same rate as when I use my healing magic.
Then, I felt as if my magic was slowly flowing out from my hands.
I don't know if it went to the aojiru or not. I have no technique that can confirm this.
However, there was a clear reaction in the vial. The blue liquid inside the vial started to violently bubble.
"W-What is this…."
Lydia once again let out a shocked voice.
At the same time, a dazzling light was emitted from the vial.
Now what's happening?
Do whatever you want.
The bright light completely enveloped the entirety of the room. Everyone inside of the room was forced to cover their eyes due to the intensity of the light. Naturally, I was also forced to close my eyes.
Slowly, the intense white light hitting my eyelids faded back to the original black.
The light was completely gone after only a few seconds.
I waited for the brilliant light to completely fade before opening my eyes and I looked down at the counter in front of me. The vial seems to be fine and the bubbling has completely stopped. The liquid has now changed to a dark green similar to moss. It kind of looks like tea. What happened to the blue colour?
Honestly, if I were told to drink this I'd have to say, "No thank you."
"It should be done. You can check it now."
I was the one telling Lydia-san to test my potion.
I'm sure there will be no problems.
It will be fine.
I already have my healing magic prepared.
Lydia-san, if anything happens to you I'll be ready to help you.
I'll send you back to your husband in perfect health.
Besides, considering her age, I'm sure she's used to swallowing stinky liquid like this.
She timidly extended her hand out towards the vial.
Her mouth pressed against the edge of the vial.
She slowly tilted the vial and the liquid inside entered her mouth.
This is somehow erotic.
A milf's erotic eating and drinking scene.
At that moment, I could see Lydia-san's face became distorted.
At the same time, it seemed as if she was choking.
She spat up the liquid she tried to swallow onto the floor.
The taste was terrible.
"I'm sorry. I was testing something and it doesn't seem to have worked."
There's no point in trying to come up with an excuse.
I'll open up with a preemptive strike.
"I-Is this….no way, pessari grass?"
"Yes. I tried to use ingredients I recognized to make the potion but it seems like that was a mistake."
It's clear that it would be impossible for anyone to drink this if they actually needed a mana potion. I don't know if there were any effects that came with drinking the potion but I doubt it actually managed to increase her mana recovery rate. Based purely on her reaction, there's no doubt that I failed.
I decided to prepare myself for her judgment.
Lydia-san began to suddenly cough up the remainder of the potion.
Was it really so terrible?
"W-What!? Are you okay!?"
Ester-chan cried out to Lydia-san in a panic.
And Lydia-san replied to her while she was still down on the ground.
"Such a dirty thing…that pessari grass actually went in my mouth…."
Apparently, this grass wasn't fit for a noble.
The name 'Poor People's Salad' is rather fitting.
It seems that her body just rejected the grass.
"Y-You…you put pessari grass in the potion?"
"Is there something wrong with that?"
Rather than just put some in, it was the main ingredient.
"Well, th-this is…it's something that can be used as a reagent, but it's not something a person would ever eat out of choice. Even a commoner would rarely eat something like that. It's hardly ever even used as food for livestock. In fact, the only time I think a person would consume it is if they're a beggar that's starving to death."
"Why did you use something like that?"
"Because it is highly resistant to magic and it can be used as a cheap reagent. I also read that it grows in abundance in most places. The book I read said this was common knowledge. M-Maybe I was wrong."
"What book did you read this in? It sounds completely different than what I know of the plant."
Edita Sensei, how much were you struggling for money when you wrote that book?
She still has yet to finish writing one complete book.
I want to hug Edita Sensei. It seems she was so desperate when she was writing that book that she was forced to eat something so disgusting just to survive.
"Lydia-san, I'm sorry. I'm very sorry. Please, if you'd like I can compensate you in any way you want."
"N-No, this is well…well it's…."
Lydia-san stood up with a pale face.
She looked as if she was unsure of what to say.
"However, as you might expect, I can't allow you to pass with this potion."
"I know. I tried to create something new. I'm sorry."
"A student that doesn't pass this exam will fail the class. Are you okay with that?"
"I'm fine with that. Please, discipline me as you see fit."
I'll have to spend another year at this school.
It's not that bad when I consider the fact that I can live together with Sophia-chan for another year. I feel bad for not being able to live up to the noble mage's recommendation, but there's no point worrying about that now. I've already failed.
"Well, t-today's exam is finished…."
Conveniently, I was the last student that Lydia-san had to grade and, following Lydia-san's instructions, the exam was now over.
[Sophia-chan's point of view]
Earlier, I was called to the main administration building by my boss Sabrina-san. She gave me some delicious sweets and I was even able to take some with me when I left. I was now returning to the dormitory.
As I was walking through the corridor, surprisingly, I could hear someone's voice.
I could tell the voice was coming from ahead of me, so I instinctively stopped walking.
"This is…this is amazing! If I'm the one to make this announcement I could aim as high as the Organization Director! Even after being separated from my husband it's still possible for me to come out on top! I'll leap far ahead of his position as baron…."
I walked through the corridor and found a door that was slightly open.
Apparently, it didn't close properly.
The rooms in this building have a magic on them that make them soundproof. As long as the door is closed, nothing can be heard from the outside. Or at least that's what Sabrina-san told me.
The owner of this voice seems to be a woman slightly older than me.
She's maybe a couple years older than me at most.
"I don't know if I'll need the Chief director's endorsement or not. After all, he is just a commoner. Even if he were to say anything against me nobody would believe him. If I'm the first one to announce this, I will have the power to do anything I please."
I don't want to hear this.
I should just keep walking.
Lately, it seems that I've been overhearing a lot of people plotting things.
If someone were to find out that a maid was listening in on the conversation of someone in their dorm room, I’m almost certain I’d be executed on the spot. The other day I was able to get out of that situation thanks to Ester-sama but if anything like that happens again I know I’ll have no chance of getting out.
Ah, I’m so unhappy.
"That potion must have been even stronger than a mid-grade potion. Not to mention the amount of mana he was able to infuse in that potion. It's no surprise he received a recommendation from that man."
She's talking about something interesting.
I'm starting to feel good eavesdropping on her.
I feel the same way as when I mix my blood in with Tanaka-san's food.
"Fufu, that's all there is to it. Still, to think that he'd accept the failing grade with no complaints whatsoever when he made such an amazing potion. When I think back on his miserable face I can't hold back my laughter. I'm still quite the actor."
I want to keep going but to get back to the dorm I have to go past here. The only other way I can go is down a hallway that leads to a dead end. I have no choice. I'll just have to wait here for a while. If she were to hear me walking away I'd be punished horribly.
"To think that the pigment of the pessari grass would hold so much potential. I'm sure that even the commoners that have no choice but to eat that stuff have no idea of its uses. After all, a commoner's thoughts are just as pathetic as their existence."
I had planned on taking in the laundry as quickly as possible, but this conversation is hard to ignore. I don't know what this woman is planning but it's clearly nothing good.
I wanted to take in the laundry before the sun goes down.
"No matter how you look at it, that's that. I'll claim that potion as my own. The only issue with it is that horrendous taste. It reminds me of the taste of my husband’s thing. He would always try to force me to drink it…."
This is hard to listen to.
Listening to someone I don't know while they talk about their sex life.
I wonder what a man's thing tastes like?
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious.
"That's the least of my worries. With the amazing effects this potion provides, I don't care how bad it tastes. What should be given priority is the presentation I'll make at the academic conference. I only have a few days left to prepare everything."
I've heard rumours about that academic conference.
It’s some kind of meeting that’s held every year by the teachers of this school. It's a major focus for them. They'll each do their own individual research throughout the year and present their new findings during the conference.
The teachers are also evaluated based on what they present during this conference. It seems that some teachers have been fired if the research they present isn't good enough. All of the teachers are required to participate.
I've also been told that students are allowed to participate but this is rather uncommon.
"Fufu, I'll put this reagent to great use."
It seems that the woman talking to herself is a noblewoman.
This school is a scary place.
I can't do anything but listen.
I shouldn't get involved with this woman.
Well, I am one of the few commoners here, I should at least know the name of this person. I decided to check the nameplate on the door. I confirmed there was nobody near the door and looked at the nameplate.
It read 'Lydia Nannuzzi.'
This floor of the building is restricted to office use for teachers and some senior staff. I'm sure that the person laughing is named Lydia.
Well, it's not like I’d recognize that name.
Would Ester-sama know her?
But it would be rather rude to ask her about something like this.
"Fufu, ufufufu. With this, I can aim for an even higher position."
The soliloquy of the noblewoman ended shortly after that.